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Full text of "A memoir of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell ... : together with the tributes of respect to his memory, by various public meetings and literary associations, and the addresses delivered at the re-interment of his remains"

if . Jocelyii. 



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^:E^. EilLISIHA MlT^MIEILILi, l])=]n) 



Processor of chemistrt, mlneralog^ .and geoi.ogt, 

IS THE XrsiVEKSTTT Or SORTH CAUOXIXA . 



<^' 




.ue'. ±Oi' tile PliilfUiflironTr- Societr ul tl) e TTiivecsxt^r. 



A MEMOIR 



OF THE 



KEY. ELISHA MITCHELL, D. I). 



LATE PKOFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY, MINERALOGY & GEOLOGY 
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA : 



TOGETHER WITH 

THE TRIBUTES OF RESPECT TO HIS MEMORY, BY VARIOUS 
PUBLIC MEETINGS AND LITERARY ASSOCIATIONS, 

AND 

THE ADDRESSES DELIVERED 

AT THE RE-INTERMENT OF HIS REMAINS, 

BY 

ET. EEY. JAMES H. OTEY, D. D., 

BISHOP OF TENNESSEE, 
AND 

HOE". DAYID L. SWAm, LL. D., 

PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY. 



CHAPEL HILL : 
PUBLISHED BY J. M. HENDERSON, 

PEINXER TO THE UNIVERSITT, 

1858. 



COMMITTEE OF PUBLICATION : 

PROFESSORS HUBBARD, SHIPP AND WHEAT. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

MEMOIR, BY PROFESSOR C. PHILLIPS, ----- 5 

SEARCH FOR PROFESSOR MITCHELL'S BODY, - - - 13 

FUNERAL SERMON BY DR. CHAPMAN, 20 

PUBLIC MEETINGS: 

Meeting at Asheville ; 
" " Chapel Hill ; 
" " Fatetteville ; 

" " GrEENSBO ROUGH ; 

" " AVilmington; .----■- 26—34 
TESTIMONIALS OF RESPECT :— 

Resolutions of the Trustees of the University: 

" OF the Faculty ; 

" of the Students ; 

" of the Dialectic Society ; 

*' of the Philanthropic Society ; 

" OF THE Trustees of Davidson College ; 

" OF THE Faculty of Davidson College ; 

" OF THE Commissioners of Chapel Hill ; 

Minute of the Presbytery of Orange ; 

*' OF THE Synod of North Carolina, - - - 35 — 44 

THE RE-INTERMENT :— 

Proposed Monument ; 

Proceedings of the 16th of June — Mr. Battle's Letter ; 

Mount Mitchell, a Poem, 45 53 

BISHOP OTEY'S FUNERAL ORATION, 55 

Advertisement ; 
PRESIDENT SWAIN'S ADDRESS, ^5— 88 



MEMOIR. 



BY PROFESSOR CHARLES PHILLIPS. 



ELISHA MITCHELL^ D. B., Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, ami 
Geology iu the University of North Carolina, was born in Washington, 
Litchfield County, Connecticut, on the 19th of August, 1793. He was 
the eldest son of Abxer Mitchell, a respectable farmer of that town- 
ship, whose wife, Piicebe Eliot, was a descendant in the fifth generation 
of Joiix Eliot, the celebrated " Apostle to the Indians." Dr. Mitchell 
wa.x thus a member of a family now very widely spread over the United 
States, and reckoning many who have exercised much influence in Com- 
merce, Politics, Science, and Religion. He possessed many of the charac- 
teristics which marked the Eliots, especially of the earlier generations. 
The Rev. Jared Eliot, M. D. and D. D., minister for many years at Kil- 
lingworth, Connecticut, was Dr. Mitchell's great-grandfather. He wavS 
distinguished in his own times for his knowledge of History, Natural 
Philosophy, Botany, and Mineralogy, while as a theologian he was sound 
in the faith and delighted in the doctrines of Gospel Grace. Among his 
ctjrrespondents were Dr. Franklix and Bishop Berkeley, and in 1762 he 
was honored by the Royal Society of London with a gold medal for a 
valuable discovery in the manufacture of Iron. This ancestor Dr. Mit- 
chell closely resembled in many peculiarities of body and soul. Both 
were men of large stature, of great bodily strength, of untiring activity^ 
of restless curiosity, of varied and extensive attainments, of a quaint and 
cjuiet humor, of persevering generosity, and of a well established piety. 
This desire for excellence in things pertaining to the mind was a pronii^ 
nent feature in Br. Mitchell's character from early childhood. When 
only four years old he acted a spirited part in an exhibition of the school 
he then attended, greatly to his own satisfaction, and to the delight of hin 
friends. As he grew older, he was never so well pleased as when his 
playmates would gather around him to hear him tell what he had read iu 
his books, and explain the pictures they contained. His preparation for 

college was completed by the Rev. Azel Backus, D. D., who maintained 
9 



for many years a classical school at Bethlem in Litchfield County, and 
was afterwards the first President of Hamilton College in New York. Dr. 
Backus was famous in his day for skill in training boys. He exercised a 
very strong control, over even the vicious, by his genial disposition, his 
good common sense, his keen wit, his unsleeping vigilance, his long suf- 
fering patience, his respectable attainments in Science, and his devout 
deference to the will of God. Those who knew Dr. Mitchell will readily 
perceive that many of his excellent peculiarities, as a man and as a Profes- 
sor, must have received an important developement by his association with 
Dr. Backus. 

Dr. Mitchell graduated at Yale College in 1813. along with' the Hon. 
George E. Badger, Dr. Olmsted, President Longstreet, Mr. Thomas P. De- 
VEREUX, the Rev. Mr. Singletary, and others who have been of note in 
various walks in life. Among these he was counted as one of the best 
scholars in their class, being especially distinguished for his knowledge of 
English Literature. He was very popular with his College mates, and the 
younger members of the Institution especially delighted to do him honor. 
The College Society to which he belonged depended on him to gain it cred- 
it on public occasions. His fine physiognomy, the dignity of his person, 
the originality of his discussions, and the humor that enlivened them, ren- 
dered his orations acceptable to his audiences, and secured him respect 
from men of taste and education. It was not till the Senior year that he 
became thoughtful on the subject of Religion. The kind and gentle per- 
suasions of a classmate — a man of humble powers of mind but of exempla- 
ry piety — had great influence in leading him to that serious examination 
of his life and hopes, which resulted in his conversion. 

On quitting College, Dr. Mitchell taught in a school for boys, under the 
care of Dr. Eigenbrodt, at Jamaica, in Long Island. Afterwards, in the 
Spring of 1815, he took charge of a school for girls in New London, Con- 
necticut. Here he formed an acquaintance with Miss Maria S. North, 
who was the daughter of an eminent physician of that place, and became 
his wife in 1819. Experience has shown the wisdom of this choice, inas- 
much as for nearly forty years this lady presided over his household, so as 
to command his entire esteem and confidence. In 1816 |Dr. Mitchell 
became a Tutor in Yale College, and while so engaged he was recommen- 
ded to the favorable notice of the Trustees of the University of North Car- 
olina. This was done through Judge Gaston, by the Rev. Sereno E. D wight, 
a son of President Dwight, and at that time Chaplain to the Senate of the 
United States. Ever since 1802 one of the most active and judicious of 
the Trustees of the University, Judge Gaston was at that time a member 
of the House of Representatives, and on terms of intimacy with Mr. 



DwiGHT. Because of this recommendation, in 1817, these gentlemen 
were appointed each to a professorship in the University of North Caroli- 
na — 'Dr. Mitchell to the chair of Mathematics then vacated by Dr. Cald- 
well's elevation to the Presidency, and Dr. Olmsted to the chair of Chemis- 
try, then first established at the University. After spending a short time 
at the Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts, and receiving a 
license to preach the Gospel from an orthodox Congregational Association 
in Connecticut, Dr. Mitchell reached Chapel Hill on the last day of Janu- 
ary, 1818, and immediately began to discharge his duties as a professor — 
a labor from which he ceased only by reason of death. In the discharge 
of these duties he exhibited an energy, a vigilance, an intelligence, a good 
common sense, a self denial, an attention to minute particulars, and a suc- 
cess rarely surpassed or even equalled. During the thirty'uine-and-a-half 
years of his connection with the University his absences from his post on 
account of sickness, visits to the seat of government, attendance on eccle- 
siastical bodies, and from all other causes, did not occupy, on an averag<^, 
more than three days in a year. Indeed, it may be safely stated that, 
throughout that entire period, his days and his nights, in term time and 
in vacation, were devoted to his professorship. No one of the hundreds of 
Students who have been connected with the University during the last 
generation will be able to recall the memory of his absence from morning 
and evening prayers but as a rare exception to a general rule. 

Dr. Mitchell preached his first sermon in the College Chapel shortly 
after his arrival there, and his last in Salisbury, North Carolina, when on 
his way to the scene of the labours that cost him his life. He was ordain- 
ed to the full work of the Christian Ministry by the Presbytery of Orange 
in Hillsborough, North Carolina, in the fall of 1821. During his long 
ministry there were very lew weeks in which he did not declare to his fel- 
low men the will of God for their salvation. He always and most heartily 
acknowledged that this Kosmos, with whose varied phenomena he was very 
conversant, was created and controlled by a personal God, whose wisdom, 
power, goodness, and holiness he set forth with no little skill, and often 
with a very striking originality. This he did during a time wherein too 
many of his associates in the investigation of Nature indulged in si-ecula- 
tions, and clothed them in language, that ignored the existence of an au- 
thoritative revelation concerning Creation and Providence. His minute ac- 
quaintance with the Archaiology and Geography of the Holy Scriptures 
rendered his exposition of them at times luminous in a remarkable de- 
gree, and, most deeply interesting. For the redemption of the one race of 
mankind, from the abyss of sin and misery into which the fall of Adam had 
plunged it, he looked only to the mystery of the Cross inwrought by the 



8 

Holy Ghost and received by Faith into the heart of each individual, and 
he rested his own soul thereon with sincere and deep felt emotions. Dur- 
ing his eventful life he was ever an attentive observer of the signs of the 
times, being a great reader of newspapers and other periodicals. In these 
Le had noticed so many associations for the reformation of the evils in hu- 
manity, skilfully organized and vehemently recommended, and after all, 
superseded by their original projectors, that while he did not oppose 
schemes, which, devised by man, relied on the organization of his fellow 
men for the attainment of reformation, he was not disappointed when 
these attempts failed ; and he persevered in the old way of presenting to 
his hearers the necessity of a prompt and persevering dependence on the 
power of personal and revealed religion to regulate the «iifections and the 
daily life. 

But it v.'as as a professor that Dr. Mitchell displayed the most energy and 
accomplished the greatest results. Until 1825 he presided over the depart- 
ment of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. During this period the doc- 
trine of Fluxions, now called the Calculus, was introduced into the College 
curriculum, and the degree of attainment in other branches of Mathematics 
was elevated considerably. In 1825, when Dr. Olmsted accepted a situation 
in Yale College, Dr. Mitchell was transferred to the chair thus vacated and 
left his own to be filled by Dr. Phillips. The pursuit of Natural Science 
had alwa^'^s been a delightful employment with Dr. Mitchell. Even 
while a Professor of Mathematics he had frequently indulged his taste for 
Botany by pedestrian excursions through the country around Chapel Hill. 
After he took upon himself instruction in Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geol- 
ogy he extended and multiplied these excursions, so that v.dien he died lie 
was known in almost every part of North Carolina, and he left no one be- 
hind him better acquainted with its mountains, vallies, and plains, its^ 
liirds, beasts, bugs, fishes, and shells, its trees, flowers, vines, and mosses, 
its rocks, stones, sands, clays and marls. Although in Silliman's Journal, 
and in other periodicals less prominent but circulating more widely nearer 
home, he published many of his discoveries concerning North Carolina, 
yet it is to be regretted that he did not print more, and in a more perma- 
nent form. It would doubtless have thus appeared that he knew and per- 
haps justly estimated the worth of many facts which much later investiga- 
tors have proclaimed as their own remarkable discoveries. But the infor- 
mation he gathered was for his own enjoyment, and for the instruction jf 
his pupils. On these he lavished, to their utmost capacity for reception, 
the knowledge that he had gathered by his widely extended observations, 
and had stored up mainly in the recesses of his own singularly retentive 
memory. 



9 

But it was not only for accuracy and intelligence as a personal observer, 
th;it Dr. Mitchell was famous, marked as his exertions were by a won- 
derful activiW of bod}-, patience of labour, and insensibility to fatigue. 
He read greedily all that he had a chance to read on the subjects directly 
or indirectly concerning his professorship, and on many other things be- 
sides. So that he well deserved the name of " the walking Encyclopedia." 
There were xery few subjects on which men of polite literature, or of ab- 
stract as vrell as natural science converse, wherein he was not an intelli- 
gent and appreciative listener, or an instructive teachen His knowledge of 
(jcography was wonderful. It was a constant amusement for him to read 
the advertisements in a large commercial newspaper, to learn what things 
were bought and sold in the markets of the world, and then to sit doAvn 
and find out where the things were manufactured. Such was his reputa- 
tation for these acquisitions that when any one wanted some rare inferma- 
tion on a Historical, or Geographical, or more strictly Scientific matter, it 
was a common thing to say, " Go, ask Dr. Mitchell." He also kept him- 
self supplied with periodicals and magazines in which the Sciences he 
taught were developing; for he loved to have his knowledge fresh, and 
would not wait for others to winnow the true from the false. He took 
pleasure in running the pure motal from the crude ore for himself. His 
large library contained something on almost every thing. But it was in 
such a form, and obtained in such times, and at such prices that in the 
market it never would have brought any approximation to what it cost 
him. The Sciences he taught were developing Avhile he taught them, and 
he felt it incumbent on him to have at the earliest moment Avhatever 
treatise he heard of as likely to secure him the best and latest informa- 
tion. ]Much of what Dr. Mitchell had to read is not now necessary, and 
many of his acquisitions may seem to others useless, but he thus provided 
that no one of his pupils left his laboratory Avithout having an opportunity 
(}f learning all that Avas of interest or of use to him on the subjects there 
discussed. Nor Avere his remarkable accomplishments as a professor con- 
fined to his oAA'n department. In the Ancient Languages he Avas frequent- 
ly ready and able to help a colleague who Avas prevented from discharging 
his oAvn duties. In the Mathematics he would often, at public examina- 
tions, propose such questions as shoAved that his earlier love still retained 
a hold on his attention and affections. He Avas a good Avriter, and in the 
department of Belles Lettres he Avas a Avell-read and insti-uctive critic. 
When it was knoAvn that he Avas to deliver an address before the North 
Carolina Agricultural Society, a friend, Avho kneAv him well, exclaimed, 
"I'll Avarrant that Dr. Mitchell begins at the garden of .Eden." And so 
he did. But by the time that, passing through Egypt and Canaan, Greece 



10 

and Rome and Great Britain, he got to Cbatham County in North Carolina, 
he furnished, as usual, an essay full of rare information,- judicious sugges- 
tions, peculiar humour, and excellent common sense. 

As a teacher, Dr. Mitchell took great pains in inculcating the first 
principles of Science. These he set forth distinctly in the very beginning 
of his instructions, and he never let his pupils lose sight of them. When 
brilliant and complicated phenomena were presented for their contempla- 
tion, he sought not to excite their wonder or magnify himself in their eyes 
as a man of suprising acquirements, or as a most dexterous manipulator, 
but to exhibit such instances as most clearly set forth fundamental laws, 
and demanded the exercise of a skilful analysis. Naturally of a cautious 
disposition, such had been his own experience, and so large was his ac- 
quaintance with the experience of others, that he was not easily excited 
when others announced unexpected discoveries among the laws and the 
phenomena which he had been studying for years as they appeared. — 
While others were busy in prophesying revolutions in social or political 
economy, he "vv^as quietly awaiting the decisions of experience. He con- 
stantly taught his pupils that there were times wherein they must turn 
from the voice of the charmer, charm he ever so sweetly. His influence on 
the developments of Science was eminently conservative, for he loved the 
old landmarks. As a disciplinarian he was vigilant, conscientious, long 
suffering, firm, and mild. Believing that the prevention was better than 
the cure of the ills of a College life, he was constantly watching to guard 
the Students from a violation of the rules of morality and common pro- 
priety. When offences were committed, to the offender he set forth his 
conduct in its true light, and often with very plain language. But when 
punishment was to be inflicted he generally proposed that which appealed 
to the culprit's better feelings, and left him a door open for a return to a 
better mind and an earnest attempt for his reformation. Many cases are 
known where such unwearied and unostentatious kindness has produced 
the happiest results. How widely extended it was no one can tell now for 
it was almost always shown to the receiver alone. It sprang from a love 
to man and fear of God, for Dr. Mitchell never feared the face of his 
fellow. 

Dr. Mitchell enjoyed being busy. Neither laziness nor idleness enter- 
ed into his composition, so that he always had something which he was 
doing heartily. Besides being a Professor, he educated his own children 
and especially his daughters to a degree not often attempted. He was 
a regular preacher in the College Chapel and in the village Church, the 
College Bursar, a Justice of the peace, a Farmer, a Commissioner for 
the village of Chapel Hill, and at times its Magistrate of Police. What- 



11 

ever plans he laid were generally sketched on a large scale, and when exe- 
cuted, they were commonly well done. Although a man of strong feel- 
ings, his excitement rarely lasted long, and he did not harbour resentment 
even when he had to remove unjust suspicions, or forgive unmerited inju- 
ries. His generosity was abundant, and was often appealed to again and 
again. No friend of his ever asked him for help without getting all that 
he could give him. In this he often swore to his own hurt yet he did not 
change. 

Such were the leading characteristics of Dr. Mitchell who loved God 
and every thing He has made ; and now, while his colleagues mourn for 
one who counselled with wisdom and executed with vigour — while men of 
Science miss the co-operation of a learned associate members of the Cabi- 
net and Ministers to foreign countries, with Senators and Representatives 
in Congress, Governors of our States with their Judges and their Legisla- 
tors, Ambassadors from the Court of Heaven, and men of renown in 
the professsions, learned Professors, with famous School-masters, and 
thousands of other pupils in more retired positions rise up in all parts of 
our country to do their revered preceptor high honor. His bow abode in 
strength to the last, neither was his natural force abated. He died as 
Abner died, and because they loved him unlettered slaves as well as migh- 
ty men followed his bier weeping. 

Dr. Mitchell perished on Saturday, the 27th of June, 1857, in the six- 
ty-fourth year of his age. He attempted alone to descend Mt. Mitchell 
the highest peak of the Black Mountain which is in Yancey County, North 
Carolina. But a thunder storm detained him on the mountain, so that it 
was evening and dark as he was groping his way down the mountain's 
iiides. Not far from nineteen minutes past eight — for his watch marked 
that time — he pitched head-long some forty feet down the precipice into a 
small but deep pool of water that feeds the Sugar Camp Fork of Caney 
Eiver. At the bottom of this pool he was found on the 8th of July by 
Mr. Thomas D. Wilson, who with some two hundred other mountain- men 
"were looking for Dr. Mitchell in every glen on the sides of that fearful 
anountain mass. This was the fifth visit that Dr. Mitchell had paid to 
the Black Mountain, the others being in 1835, 1838, 1844, and 1856 re- 
spectively. His object at this time was partly personal, and partly Scien- 
tific. He wished to correct the mistakes into which some had ]>een led 
concerning his earlier visits, and to so compare the indications of the 
Spirit Level and the Barometer, that future explorers of mountain heights 
might have increased confidence in the results afibrded them by these in- 
-struments. His untimely end left both parts of this work to be completed 
by the pious hands of others. 



12 

Dr. Mitchell was buried in Asheville, North Carolina, on the 10th of 
July, 1857, by the side of one of liis College mates. But at the earnest 
solicitation of many friends, and especially of the mountain men of Yancey, 
his family allowed his body to be removed and deposited on the top of Mt. 
Mitchell. This was done on the 16th of June, 1858. There he shall rest 
till the Judgment Day, in a mausoleum such as no other man has ever had. 
Reared by the hands of Omnipotence, it was assigned to him by those to 
whom it was given thus to express their esteem, and it was consecrated by 
the lips of eloquence warmed by affection, amidst the rites of our Holy Re- 
ligion. Before him lies the North Carolina he loved so well and served so 
faithfully. From his lofty couch its hills and vallies melt into its plains 
as they stretch away to the shores of the eastern ocean, whence the dawn 
of the last day stealing quietly westward, as it lights the mountain tops 
first, shall awake him earliest to hear the greeting of 

a^ "Well DOXE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT." 

% 



THE SEARCH FOR PROFESSOR MITCHELL'S BODY. 

From the Asheville Spectator. 

Messrs. Editors — Having spent a week at the scene of this memorable 
calamity, in eearch of the body of Dr. Mitchell, and assisting in its remrn 
val after it -"A-as found, I have been requested by sundry citizens to give to 
the public a sketch of the deplorable event. In accordance with their re- 
quest, I now take my pen to give you all I know of the accident, which 
has caused so much sorrowful excitement in this region, and which I 
doubt, not will unnerve the public feeling to its centre throughout the 
State when the sad tidings shall be generally known. 

It is known to all who have felt interested in our State Geography, that 
there lately sprung up a dispute between the Hon. T. L. Clingman and 
Dr. Mitchell, in regard to one of the high peaks of the Black Mountain 
put down in Cook's map as Mt. Clingman. The former alledging that he 
was first to measure and ascertain its superior height to any other point 
on the range, and the latter gentleman asserting that he was on that same 
peak and measured it in the year 1844. After several letters, pro and con, 
through the newspapers, Dr. Mitchell announced last fall his intention 
of visiting the mountains again for the purpose of re-measuring the peak 
in dispute, taking the statements of some gentlemen who had acted as his 
guides on his former visits, &c. Sometime since, about the middle of 
June, I think, he came up, in company with his son Chas. A Mitchell, his 
daughter, and a servant boy, established his headquarters at Jesse Stepp's, 
at the foot of the mountain, and began*the .laborious task of ascertaining 
the height of the highest peak by an instrumental survey, which as the 
former ad-measurements were only barometrical, would fix its altitude with 
perfect accuracy. He had proceeded with his work near two weeks, and 
had rea^clied to some quarter of a mi>e above Mr. Wm. Patton's Mountain 
House, by Saturday evening, 2^ o'clock, the 27th of June, at which time 
he quit work and told his son that he was going to cross the mountain to 
the settlement on Caney River for the purpose of seeing ]Nlr. Thomas Wil- 
son, "Wm. Riddle, and I believe another Mr. AVilson, who had guided him 
up to the top on a former visit. He promised to return to the Mountain 
House on Monday at noon. There was no one with him. This was the 
last time he Avas ever seen alive. On Monday his son repaired to the 
Mountain House-to meet his f\ither, but he did not come. Tuesday the 
same thing occurred, and though considerable uneasiness was felt for his 
safety, yet there were so many ways to account for his delay that it was 
scarcely thought necessary to alarm the neighborhood ; but when Wednes- 



14 

day night came and brought no token of him, his son and Mr. John Stepp 
immediately started on Thursday morning to Caney River in search of him. 
On arriving at Mr. Thos. Wilson's, v\rhat vras their astonishment and dis- 
may to learn that he had neither been seen nor heard of in that settle- 
ment ! They immediately returned to Mr. Stepp's, the alarm was given, 
and before sundown on Friday evening companies of the ha^dy mountai- 
neers- from the North Fork of the Swannanoa were on their way up the 
mountain. The writer, happening to be present on a visit to the Black, 
joined the first company that went up. About eighteen persons camped 
at the Mountain Housq that evening, and continued accessions were made 
to our party during the night, by the good citizens of that neighborhood, 
Tvho turned out at the call of humanity as fast as they heard the alarm, 
some from their fields, some from working on the road, and all without a 
moment's hesitation. Early on Saturday morning our party under the 
command of Mr. Fred Burnett and his sons, all experienced hunters, and 
Jesse Stepp and others who were familiar with the mountains, struck out 
for the Baain top, and began the search by scouring the woods on the left 
hand or Caney River side of the trail that runs along the top. We continu- 
ed on this way to the highest peak without discovering any traces what- 
ever of his passage, when our company became so scattered into small 
parties that no further systematic search could be made that day. But 
directly in our rear as we came up the mountain was Mr. Eldridge Bur- 
nett with some more of his neighbors, who had come from their houses 
that morning ; and hearing a report that Dr. Mitchell had expressed his 
intention of striking a bee line from the top for the settlements without 
following the blazed trail way- to Caney River, they searched for signs in 
that direction, and soon found a trail in the «oft moss and fern that was 
believed to have been made by him, and followed it until it came to the 
first fork of Caney, where it was lost. Nothing doubting but they were 
on his track, and that he had continued down the stream, they went seve- 
ral miles along the beat of the river, over inconceivably rough and dange- 
rous ground, until dark, when they threw themselves upon the earth and 
rested till morning. Mr. Stepp, Mr. Fred. Burnett and others made their 
way to Wilson's on Caney River to join the company that was coming up 
from the Yancey side, and the writer and many others returned, gloomy 
^and disappointed to the Mountain House. Thus ended the first day's 
search. During almost the entire day the rain had poured down steadily, 
tke air was cold and chilling, the thermometer indicating about 44° at 
noon, whilst the heavy clouds wrapped the whole mountain in such a 
dense fog that it was impossible to see any distance before us. It seemed 
as if the genii of those vast mountain solitudes were angered at our un- 



15 

wonted intrusion, and had invoked the Storm-God to enshroud in deeper 
gloom the sad and mysterious fate of their noble victim. 

Sabbath morning came, but its holy stillness and sacred associations 
were all unregarded, and the party camping in the Mountain House, now 
largely augmented by constant arrivals from the settlements, plunged 
again into the gloomy forest of gigantic firs, and filing through the dark 
and deep gorges struck far down into the wilds of Caney River. Mr. El- 
dridge Burnett's party returned about 2 o'clock, bringing, no tidings and 
seeing no further trace whatever of the wanderer's footsteps. Still later 
in the day Messrs. Fred. Burnett and Jesse Stepp and party returned with 
some twelve or fifteen of the ciz-ens of Caney River, having traversed a 
large scope of country and finding still no trace of the lost one. The rain 
still continued to pour down, and the gloomy and ill-omened fog still con- 
tinued to wrap the mountain's brow in its rayless and opaque shroud. 
Jnst before dark the remaining party came in, unsuccessful, tired, hungry 
^and soaking with water. A general gloom now overspread the counte- 
nances of all, as the awful and almost undeniable fact was proclaimed, 
that Dr. Mitchell was surely d^ad, and our only object in making the 
search, would be- to recue his mortal remains from the wild beasts and 
give them christian sepulture ! It could not be possible, we thought, that 
he was alive, for cold, and hunger, and fatigue, if nothing worse had hap- 
pened to him, would ere this have destroyed him, Alas ! we reasoned too 
well. By this time the alarm had spread far and near, and many citizens 
of Asheville and other parts of the country were flocking to the mountains 
to assist in the search for one so universally beloved and respected. On 
JMonday tho company numbered some sixty men. New routes were pro- 
jected, new ground of search proposed, and the hunt conducted through- 
out the day with renewed energy and determination, but still without 
avail. On Tuesday the company of Buncombe men separated into three 
squads and took difi"erent routes, whilst Mr. Thomas Wilson and his 
neighbors from Caney River, took a still more distant route, by going to 
the top of the highest peak and searching down towards the Cat-tail fork 
of the River. They were led to take this route by the suggestion of Mr, 
Wilson, that Dr. M. had gone up that way in his visit to the high peak in 
1844, and that perhaps he had undertaken to go down by the same route. 
They accordingly struck out for that point, and turning to the left to strike 
down the mountain in the prairie near the top, at the very spot where it 
is alleged that the Doctor entered it thirteen years ago, they instantly 
perceived the impression of feet upon the yielding turf, pointing down the 
mountain in the direction indicated of his former route. After tracing it 
some distance with that unerring woodcraft which is so wonderful to all 



16 

but tine close observing hunter, they became convinced that it was his 
trail and sent a messenger back some five miles to inform the Buncombe 
men, and telling them to hurry on as fast as they could. The Avriter with 
Mr. Charles Mitchell and many others were in a deep valley on the head 
waters. of another fork of the river, when the blast of a horn and the firing 
of guns on a distant peak, made us aware that some discovery Avas made. 
Hurrying with breathless haste up the steep mountain side in the direc- 
tion of the guns we soon came np and found the greater part of our com- 
pany watching for us, with the news that the Yancey company were upon 
the trail we had been so earnestly seeking so many days. After a brief 
consultation, two or three of our party a'eturned to the Mountain House 
for provisions, and the balance of us started as fast as we could travel 
along the main top towards our Yancey friends, and reached the high peak 
just before dark. Here v\'e camped in a small cabin built by Mr. Jesse 
Stepp, ate a hasty supper and threw ourselves upon the floor, without 
covering, to rest. 

About 1 o'clock in the night, just as the writer was about closing his 
eyes in troubled and uneasy slumber, a loud halloo was heard from the high 
bluff that looms over the cabin. It was answered from .within and in a 
moment every sleeper Avas upon his feet. Mr. Jesse Stepp, Capt. Robert 
Patton and others, then came down and told us that the body Avas found. 
Mournfully then indeed those hardy sons of the mountain seated them- 
selves around the smouldering cabin fire, and on the trunks of the fallen 
firs, and then, in the light of a glorious full moon, whose rays penciled the 
dark damp forest with liquid silver, seven thousand feet above the tide- 
washed sands of the Atlantic, the melancholj'^ tale was told. Many a heart 
was stilled with sadness as the awful truth was disclosed and many a 
rough face glittered with a tear in the refulgent moon-light as it looked 
upon the marble pallor and statue-stillness of the stricken and bereaved 
son, and thought of those far away whom this sudden evil Avould so deep- 
ly afflict. 

It was as they expected. The deceased had undertaken to go the same 
route to the settlements which he had formerly gone. They traced him 
rapidly down the precipices of the mountain, until they reached the stream 
(the Cat-tail fork), found his traces going down it — following on a hundred 
yards or so, they, came to a rushing cataract some forty feet high, saw his 
foot-prints trying to climb around the edge of the yawning precipice, saw 
the moss torn up by the outstretched hand, and then — the solid, impression- 
less granite refused to tell more of his fate. But clambering hastily to 
the bottom of the roaring abyss, they found a basin worn out of the solid 
rock by the frenzied torrent, at least fourteen feet deep, filled with clear 



17 

and crystal waters cold and pure as the winter snow that generates them. 
At the bottom of this basin, quietly reposing, with outstretched arms, day 
the mortal remains of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D., the good, the great, 
the wise, the simple minded,^ the pure of heart, the instructor of youth, 
the disciple of knowledge and the preacher of Christianity ! Oh what 
friend to science and virtue what youth among all the thousands that 
have listened to his teachings, what friend that has ever taken him by the 
hand, can think of this wild and awful scene unmoved by the humanity of 
tears ! can think of those gigantic pyramidal firs, whose interlocking 
branches shut out the light of heaven, the many hued rhododendrons that 
freight the air with their perfume and lean weepingly over the waters, that 
crystal stream leaping down the great granites and hastening from the 
majestic presence of the mighty peak above, whilst in the deep pool below, 
where the weary waters rest but a single moment, lies the inanimate body 
of his dear friend and preceptor, apparently listening to the mighty requi- 
em of the cataract I ! Truly " Man knoweth not his time, and the sons of 
men are entrapped in the evil, when it cometh suddenly upon them." 

Upon consultation it was thought best to let the body remain in the wa- 
ter until all arrangements were completed for its removal and interment ; 
judging rightly that the cold and pure waters would better preserve it, than 
it could be kept in any other way. At day light a number of hands went 
to cutting out a trail from the top of the mountain to where the body lay, 
a distance of three miles, whilst others went to Asheville to make the ne- 
cessary arrangements. Word was also sent to the coroner of Yancey, and 
to the citizens generally to come and assist us in raising the body on Wed- 
nesday morning. At that time a large num])er of persons assembled at 
Mr. Jesse Stepp's and set out for the spot, bearing the coffin upon our 
shoulders up the dreary steeps. We had gone near ten miles in this way 
and had just turned down from the high peak towards the river, when we 
were met by Mr. Coroner Ayers, and about fifty of the citizens of Yance}', 
coming up with the body. They had got impatient at our delay, and en- 
veloping the body in a sheet and fastening it securely upon a long pole, 
laid it upon the shoulders of ten men and started up the mountain. And 
now became manifest the strength and hardihood of tliose noble mountai- 
neers. For three miles above them the precipitous granites and steep 
mountain sides forbade almost the ascent of an unincumbered man, which 
was rendered doubh' difficult by great trunks of trees, and the t^iick and 
tangled laurel which blocked up the way. The load was near two hundred 
and fifty pounds and only two men could carry at once. But nothing 
(la"-nted by the fearful exertion before them, they steJD boldly up the way, 
fresh hands stepped in every few moments, all struggling without inter- 



18 

mission and eager to assist in the work of humanity. Anon they would 
come to a place at which it was impossible for the bearers to proceed, and 
then they would form a line by taking each others hands the uppermost 
man grasping a tree and with shouts of encouragement heave up by main 
strength. In this way, after indescribably toiling for some hours they 
reached the spot. Here was afforded another instance of the great affec- 
tion and regard in which the deceased was held by all. These bold and 
hardy men desired to have the body buried there and contended for it long 
and earnestly. They said that he had first made known the superior 
height of their glorious mountain and noised their fame almost through- 
out the Union, that he had died whilst contending for his right to that 
loftiest of all the Atlantic mountains, on which we then stood, and they 
desired to place his remains right there, add at no other spot. It would 
indeed have been an appropriate resting place for him, and greatly was it 
wished for by the whole country, before its being told them that his fami- 
ly wanted his remains brought down. They reluctantly yielded, and the 
Buncombe men proceeded to bring the body slowly down the valley of the 
Swannanoa. Before leaving the top, the writer took down the names of 
all present, and will ask you to publish them to the world, as men who 
have done honor to our common humanity by their generous and disinter- 
ested conduct on this melancholy occasion. I am no flatterer, Messrs. 
Editors, but I must confess that the labor which these mountain men ex- 
pended and the sacrifice they so willingly and cheerfully made, is worthy 
of all praise and admiration. May God reward their kindness ; I feel sure, 
the numerous friends and pupils of the dear deceased would rather read 
the list of these men's names than the "ayes and naes" of any Con- 
gressional vote that has been recorded in many a day. 

FROM YANCEY. 

Nathaniel B. Ray, I. M. Broyles, Joseph Shephard, Washington Broy- 
les, Henry Wheeler, Thomas Wilson, Jas. M. Ray, D. W. Burleson, G. B. 
Silvers, J. 0. Griffith, E. Williams, A. D. Allen, A. L. Ray, Thomas D. 
Wilson, E. A. Pyatt, D. W. Howard, W. M. Astin, James H. Riddle, Dr. 
W. Crumley, G. D. Ray, Burton Austin, James Allen, Henry Ray, T. L. 
Randolph, John McPeters, W. B. Creasman, S. J. Nanney, Samuel Ray, 
E. W. Boren, Rev. W. C. Bowman, J. W. Bailey, Thomas Silvers, Jr., 
Thomas Calloway, Henry Allen, J. L. Gibbs, Jesse Ray, James Hensley, 
Robert Riddle, W. D. Williams, J. D. Young, William Rolen, G. W. Wil- 
son, John Rogers, James Allen, Jr. J. W. Ayres, J. F. Presnell, R. A. 
Rumple, W. J. Hensley, D. H. Silvers, R. Don Wilson, Jas. Calloway. 



19 

FROM BUNCOMBE. 

S. C. Lambert, William Burnett, R. H. Burnett, R. J. Fortune, Ephraim 
Glass, J. H. Bartlett, B. F, Fortune, A. N. Alexander, James Gaines, J. 
E. Ellison, John F. Bartlett, F. F. Bartlett, Elijah Kearly, E. Clayton, A. 
Burgin, Jesse Stepp, D. F. Summey, T. J. Corpning, Harris Ellison, T. B. 
Boyd, A. J. Lindsey, Joshua Stepp, William Powers, R. P. Lambert, Tis- 
dale Stepp, Daniel Burnett, Thadeus C. Coleman, A. F. Harris, W. C. 
Fortune, Fletcher Fortune, Capt. Robert Patton, Cooper, servant of Wm. 
Patton, John, servant of Fletcher Fortune, Esq. 

A. J. Emmerson, Chatham County, A. E. Rhodes, Jones County,, H. H. 
Young, and Moses Dent, Franklin County ; all students of Wake Forest 
College. 

This list does not comprise all who assisted in the search, as much to 
my regret I did not take a list of any but those present at the removal of 
the body. I believe, however, that the names of all are recorded on the 
register of Mr. Patton's Mountain House, where the friends of Dr. Mitch- 
ell can see them when they visit (as I have no doubt many will) the scene 
of his death. 

This ends my brief sketch of this melancholy affair. As to any eulogy 
upon Dr. Mitchell's character I feel myself unequal to the task. I trust 
that it will be appropriately pronounced by some one of his learned and 
devoted fellow laborers of the University. My feeble pen could add noth- 
ing to his moral and intellectual stature. I will only say, that I loved him 
as sincerely as any one in the State. I am gratified to be able to state that 
unusual kindness and respect was exhibited by every citizen of the coun- 
try throughout the whole transaction. 

Yours truly, Z. B. VANCE. 



A FUKERAL SERMON, 

DELIVERED IX THE 

PRESBTTEKIA^" CHURCH AT ASHEYH^LE, 

ox THE TENTH OF JULY 1857. 

By the REV. ROBERT HETT CHAPMAN, D. D., 

A SOX OF THE SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY. 



Max kxoweth xot uis time : . * * ^ the soxs of mex are sxared in 

AX evil WHEX it FALLET^ SUDDEXLT UPOX THEM.^ — Eccl. chap. 9, V. 12. 

What words of truth are these ? and how fearfully have they been rea- 
lized in the incidents which have convened us here to-day I The doctrine 
of the Text is, that there is a dreadful uncertainty respecting things ter- 
re.stial — that trials, and changes, and death are our heritage here-— that in 
our calmest, and even apparently in our safest hours, we are but short 
sighted and frail — all exposed and in peril : and know not what a day may 
bring forth ! Children of clay, and inhabiting a globe of graves, we are 
in peril every hour ! It is true the Almighty upholds, and Ave are in His 
hands ! His Providence is over us, but whether it shall be afflictive, or be^ 
nisnant — whether of the issues of Life, or of Death we cannot tell! The 
future is all before us, but shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it ! 
its issues, and its events are alone kno\tn to the Infinite ! To the Chris- 
tian, and in his conception there are no accidents — nothing fortuitous — ■- 
the hand of God is in it all; and so it is in point of fact XLutli us all; 
whether we realize it, or not — God telleth off your days and mine, and 
those of the entire race ! — as an hireling we shall each accomplish our 
day, and then pass on and up to the Judgment of the great God ! Then 
should we not watch? ought we not to be ready? lest suddenly coming He 
find us sleeping ! 

Man knoweth not his time ! but certain it is, that here, on earth, where^ 
ver found he is all incident to suffering — exposed to calamity and danger 
= — the sure victim of coming dissolution, aye the certain trophy of Death I 
His leaden fingers shall be laid upon you and me, chilling the pulsations 
of life — His arm of power snail be by us felt, breaking the golden bowl at 
the fountain I — we shall all experience his wasting influence, changing 



21 

the countenance and bidding us pass from Earth to the Spirit Land ! but 
when these trials shall reach us : — when we shall each in our lot go down 
before the puissant arm of him, who breaks the sword of valor, and 
takes the diadem from the brow of kings — when the veil shall part before 
jour spirit's eye and mine, and the gales of eternity shall freshen upon 
our souls, God alone knows ! Sometimes danger and death show them- 
selves in the distance, and with slow and steady step gradually approach, 
letting us know, that they aim at us and ours, and that their office and 
work is with us ; at other times they draw nigh wdth steady tread — noise- 
less, silent, unperceived they gather round ; their presence is but recog- 
nized in their attack^in the marks of their desolation— in the affixing of 
an unchanging seal which cannot be mistaken, and which can neither 
he blotted out, nor broken I All ma}^ be quiet without, and calm within ; 
and there may be no sense of danger, and no fear— but Death is there, and 
sudden destruction. The veil of Eternity sometimes parts as in the twink- 
ling of an eye and the soul without sign or token, or note or warning, is 
in the spirit land, summoned to the presence of God, its Infinite Judge! 
Ah, Friends ! the text is true, " Man knoweth not his time/^ The sons of 
men are oftentimes snared in sudden calamity ; there is an awful, a fear-* 
ful uncertainty as to what is before us, when w^e shall be called on to lay 
aside these vestments of mortality, and to stand before Jehovah God our 
Judge ! Then is it not wise ?— would it not be well to have our prepara- 
tion work well and early done, that we may stand ready, and waiting for 
the coming of the Son of Man ? " Man knoweth not his Time^as the fish 
are taken in a net, as the birds are caught in a snare, so are the sons of 
men snared in an evil when it falleth suddenly upon them/' My Text 
has been selected, and the train of thought just indulged in, suggested) 
1 ty one of those fearful incidents of life which alike startle and appall ! 
Tidings of them fall not listlessly on human ears, they fail not deeply, 
and painfully to affect human hearts I It is no ordinary death scene that 
we chronicle ; nor is it the departure from the scenes of time of any ordi- 
nary man, that we have met in the Sanctuary to meditate upon ! Elisha 
Mitchell ! the loved and venerated— -the astute and wise— ^the man of 
God and Christian Minister, lies low in death ! He is no more of earthy 
for God hath taken him up to the scenes of the spiritual) and caused him 
to mingle in the realities of the eternal world ! His family are bereft of 
their Head — no more shall he guide them by his counsels, nor at morning 
and evening lead their devotions ; — the temple of Science has had extin- 
y;ui6hed in him one of its living lights, and taken down and removed is 
one of its stalwart pillars I The Church of God and its courts have in him 
lost an advocate — a judicious counsellor^ and prized presbyter! His seat 
o 



22 

at the family table, in the hall of Science, and within the Sanctuary of 
God, have alike been vacated by the sad event vrhich has convened us, 
and which we are endeavoring spiritually to improve ! His agency as 
father, friend, and instructor, and Christian Minister has ceased ; and no 
more shall we enjoy his converse, weigh his counsels, or go with him up 
to the House of God ! Ye reckon it in days since some of you enjoyed his 
sunny smile and kind hearted converse, and communion ! When last 
with him, aye when last seen of mortal vision, he was full of life — as 
buoyant with hope, and had as bright promise of future years and useful- 
ness, as had any of you^ or your race ! but he is not — his summons was 
sudden — fearfully sudden ! Yours may be as sudden, and not as safe 1 
He died emphatically alone ! Neither wife nor brother nor son nor friend 
nor man was near I Amid mountain fastnesses, under laurel shades, and 
with unceasing sound of moaning pines and rushing waters, furnishing 
an appropriate requiem, alone and without human aid or sympathy, he 
breathed out his life. Except for efforts the most patient and untiring on 
the part of the community, his death as to its place, and means, and time^ 
would have remained a mystery ; his grave would have been unknown and 
his body unsepultured. There is something, at once grand and fearful in 
such a death ! Far from human habitation — amid the solitude of nature 
— her works there on the grandest scale — it brings up those mounts of 
God mentioned in the Scripture, Pisgah and Nebo, and suggests the death 
scene of the " Ruler of His people " as connected therewith — Angels per- 
formed the dying offices of the one, nor is it vain speculation to suppose 
that in needful form and sympathy they were present with the other ; this 
sure Word of God informs us that they minister to the heirs of salvation 1 
I have said Dr. Mitchell was alone in his death — I speak of earth and 
of man — I except angelic influences, and the presence of his covenant God 
and Saviour ! He who stamped grandeur on those mountains, and marked 
out a channel for those pure and crystal waters did not in that hour de- 
sert His servant but was near him and around him ! Do I say too much ? 
what says the Scripture ? " as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, 
so Jehovah is round about them that fear Him " — What says God him- 
self? "Fear not I I am with thee, be not dismayed! I will never leave 
thee nor forsake thee I" Tell me not of accidents I Speak not to me of 
second causes ! God's hand was in the startling event, as it is in all 
events. He designs that we should feel it, and lay it to heart, and wisely 
improve it. From that mountain side and seething pool where they found 
him tliere cometli a voice deep, thrilling, and loud, addressing itself to 
you, and me, to all! Its language is " prepare to meet thy God!" Who 
can fail to realize, if he will throw around the scene one lingering thought. 



^o 



that amid these frowning precipices and impervious shades and wildly 
dashing waters, and with death at hand, it was far more important to 
have been the humble child of God, the devoted follower of Christ, than to 
have been the man of gold, or of distinction and fame, or even a sceptered 
king, Avith destitution of this grace ! Ah ! the Avell earned fame, the dis- 
tinctions of our departed friend and brother, have here no power in im- 
parting joy and comfort to those who loved him in life, and to whom he is 
doubly dear in death ! — their hope, and joy, and strong consolation is bas- 
ed on the simple fact that Dr. Mitchell laid all his honors, and loved to 
lay them, at the feet of Christ and around Ilis Cross ! — that there he hung 
his hopes of Heaven— that there he planted his expectations of Life Ever- 
lastino; ! He was an humble child of God, and a Christian ! In that fact 
there is comfort, joy, strong consolation ! When father, or mother, or 
child, or brother, or friend passes from earth, let me know they are in 
Heaven, and among the blood-bought and ransomed, and I cannot unduly 
grieve ! Who would call them back from their rapt scenes of angelic 
joy, and again attach the chains of sense, and affix the stains of sin to their 
freed and pure spirits/ Earth is fleeting and mingled are its scenes — its 
joys are at best but transient ! there is no treasure worth securing, save 
that which is laid up in Heaven ! Moral victories are alone worthy the 
effort, and the energy of the deathless spirit of man ! 

" Man knoweth not his time and the sons of men are snared in an evil 
when it cometh suddenly upon them I" This is Truth, and it teaches us 
that evil oftentimes comes upon us in an hour when we least expect its 
approach! The future is all before us, and we must meet it; but its 
scenes are with the Deit}' — an impenetrable veil covers it from your vision 
and mine — we tread at best but a darkened path, and know not our time 
of trial ! It may occur in our happiest hours, and amid scenes of gushing 
joy ; the cloud may gather and loom up, and burst within an hour ! What 
reverses have been witnessed in this changing world between the rising 
of the sun and the lengthening of its shadows ! What, as in the present 
instance between the going down of that orb of light and the breaking of 
the day ! Death often steals on dying men unheralded — no note of 
warning precedes his approach ! Some whilst pressed with care, engros- 
sed with business, and all unprepared, are hurried away — others engaged 
in the pur^^uit of pleasure, and with no sense of danger, suddenly feel his 
touch, stilling the pulsations of life, and bidding them up to the Judg- 
ment ! Some in life's morning and the hey-day of their being, as they 
fondly fancy, with the world all before them ! Others with hoary locks, 
and shortened steps ! some prepared with armor on— with loins girt about, 
and their lamps trimmed and burning ! Others amid their course of fjlly 



24 

— the love of sin iinslain, and depravity burning its deep and corroding 
brand within the soul ! Ah ! it is the suddenness of scenes like these — it 
is their unexpectedness to the individual, which makes them so awful and 
fearful ! Prepared for death — girded for the judgment, and clad in those 
robes of righteousness, which alone can bear its living light ; a sudden 
death is not to be deprecated — with the love of God within the soul, and 
the living everlasting Saviour at hand, a solitary death is not to be deplor- 
ed ! But unprovisioned for eternity how fearful ! unprepared for the solemn . 
interview with God, which must then ensue, how tremendously awful is a 
sudden death ! Who would appear before his Maker with the love of sin 
uppermost in his soul — who would thus appear, even united to Christ, 
with the world clustering around, and clasping the affections of the heart ? 
Not so ! Oh, not so, would he that is wise die ! How lightly, friends, 
should we esteem the thing of time, and what priceless value should we 
attach to the interests of the deathless soul ! And yet poor man, in his 
blindness and sin, reverses all this ! God stoops, and invites us to his 
arms, and to his heavenly home, but too many busied with the vanities of 
earth, and eager in its pursuits, slight those rich treasures and everlasting 
joys — turn away from these offers of life, and seek an heritage for time ! 
Other thoughts, frier ds, crowd upon me, but I must hasten ! I trust 
you see and feel the teachings of the text, enforced as they are by the fear- 
ful incident which convened us together. "We are but pilgrims on the 
shores of time ! Sojourners on the earth as were our fathers ! Here we 
have no abiding place — passengers at the best, we walk in darkness, un- 
der perils and in great suspense — the future is all Jiidden — we know not 
what a day may bring forth ! Do you esteem the picture dark and 
gloomy ? and ask what can be done ? I answer, trust in the Lord and d(i 
good ! thus may you fill up your lives with acts of usefulness, and deck 
them with deeds of Christian honor ! Thus passing away, piety shall give 
you the tribute of tears ; and the bosom of virtue shall send forth sighs at 
your decease! Do you still ask, as to what can be done.^ I answer, 
make Jehovah God in Christ your refuge, and trust, and then it shall be 
well with you, well with your soul! "He that dwelleth in the secret 
place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." 
It is your privilege so to live, and so to bind the hopes of the gospel of 
•Jesus Christ to the heart, that you may dread the grave as little as your 
bed ! Here is the Bible of God — the great moral light which teaches Je- 
hovah's will — presents the provisions of His mercy ; with its truths re- 
ceived — with its remedies embraced — with its Saviour believed in, and trus- 
ted on, you have a stay which shall avail amid the conflicts of time — more ! 
it shall cheer you as you go down under the power of Death's arm — light- 



25 

ing up the grave and dispelling forever all its fearful shadows ! Earth is 
changing ! but Heaven is stable and sure ! Fix your affections there ! and 
now from that solitary place in the wilderness where my Brother breathed 
out his life, and passed from earth ; aye from that bier on which now lie 
his mortal remains, there cometh a voice addressed to you, to me, to all 
present — and yet it singles us out and addresses us each, and its language 
is, " Be ye also ready for the coming of the Son of man ! prepare to meet 
God !" Obey this voice, and your death scene shall be peaceful as are an- 
gelic slumbers, and your eternity shall be passing happy, and supremely 
blissful as of the riches of Jehovah's grace ! Thus prepared and panopli- 
ed, when you come to walk through the valley of the shadow of death you 
shall have the rod and the staff, the presence of Him, who is the Resur- 
rection and the Life. 



PUBLIC MEETINGS. 



MEETING AT ASHEVILLE. 

From tilt Asheville News, July 16. 

It having been announced in Asheville, on Wednesday morning, 8th 
July, instant, that the dead body of Professor Elisha Mitchell, of Chapel 
Hill, had been discovered in the vicinit}" of the Black Mountain ; pursuant 
to a short notice, a large meeting of the citizens of Buncombe county and 
many others from a distance, met in the Court House at 5 o'clock in the 
afternoon of the same day, when, on motion of Z. B. Vance, Esq., Rev. 
Jarvis Buxton was appointed Chairman of the meeting. 

Mr. Buxton, on taking the chair, made some feeling and appropriate re- 
marks, explanatory of the object of the meeting, and upon the services 
and character of Professor Mitchell in his relations to the University, also 
as a man in his social and domestic relations, and as a christian gentle- 
man. He said he knew the deceased well, having been a member of his 
household while a student at College, and that to know him was to love 
him. 

On motion, John D. Hyman was appointed Secretary of the meeting. 

W. M. Shipp, Esq., after prefacing with a few remarks, in which he 
bore testimony to the exalted character of Dr. Mitchell, and his eminent 
services in his devotion to Science and Education, offered the following 
resolutions, expressing a desire that they would be adopted : 

1. Resolved, That we have heard, with the most profound regret, the 
announcement which has just been made, of the sad and melancholy death 
of the Rev. Dr. Mitchell, of the University of this State. 

2. Resolved, That in the death of Dr. Mitchell, the University has lost 
one of its most tried friends ; the Faculty one of its most zealous votai-ies ; 
and the church of God one of its most faithful ministers. 

3. Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, it would be highly ap- 
propriate — should it meet the approbation of his family — that the remains 
of the deceased be deposited upon some eligible point of the Black Moun- 
tain ; a place with which his name has been connected for many years, as 
the first to call public attention to its superiority in height to any point 
in the United States, East of the Rocky Mountains. 

4. Resolved, That, in our opinion, no more suitable testimonial of re- 
spect to the memory of the deceased could be given, than the erection of 



27 

an appropriate monument upon the mountain, with which his name and 
sad fate are so intimately associated ; and, to carry out this purpose, we 
ask the assistance of all good citizens of the State and the friends of edu- 
cation and science generally. 

5. Resolved, That to the family of the deceased we extend our heartfelt 
condolence, and the Chairman of this meeting appoint a committee of three 
persons to convey to them a copy of these resolutions, and express our 
sympathy in their bereavement. 

6. Eesolced, That a copy of these proceedings be forwarded to the Presi- 
dent of the University, with a request that he convey to the Faculty and 
Students our deep sympathy in the great loss they have sustained in the 
death of their oldest member and most experienced instructor. 

7. Resolved, That the Chairman appoint a committee of six to take such 
steps as they may think advisable to carry out the object of the 4th reso- 
lution. 

8. Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be published in the Ashe- 
ville papers, and that the papers of the State general^ be requested to 
copy. 

Hon. Thos. L. Clingman said he approved of the resolutions and hoped 
they would be adopted. He added his testimony to the eminent services 
of Professor Mitchell in his explorations of this section of th^ State, both 
in regard to its topography and geology. 

Rev. Dr. Chapman made some eloquent and touching remarks in rela- 
tion to the sad calamity that had called the meeting together, 

Z. B. Yance, Esq., being called upon, narrated the circumstances, as far 
as they had been ascertained, that attended the death of Professor Mitch- 
ell. He also said that great credit was due to a large number of gentle- 
men, principally persons residing in the vicinity of the Black Mountain, 
for their untiring exertions to recover the body of the deceased. 

On motion the resolutions were unanimously adopted. 

In accordance with the 5th resolution, the Chairman appointed the fol- 
lowing gentlemen as the committee : Rev. Dr. Chapman, AVm. M. Shipp 
and James W. Patton, Esq'rs. On motion, the name of the Chairman was 
added to the list. 

In pursuance of the 7th resolution, the Chairman appointed the follow- 
ing committee : Messrs. A. S. Merrimon, David Coleman, Z. B. Vance, 
John A, Dickson, W. M. Shipp, and James A. Patton. 

On motion of A. S. Merrimon, Esq., the Chairman appointed twenty 
persons to superintend the conveying of the body of the deceased to its 
place of burial. The following persons were appointed : Z. B. Yance, A. 
S. Merrimon, J. A. Patton, R.M. Henry, Thadaeus Coleman, G. W. Whitson, 



28 

James Gaines, D. F. Summey, A. Burgin, W. M. Hardy, W. A. Patton, 
J. E. Patton, J. D. Hyman, S. C. Bryson, "W. Morrison, T. A. Corpening, 
and T. B. Boyd. 

On motion the meeting adjourned. 

JAR VIS BUXTON, Chairman. 

Joax D. Hymax, Secretary. 



MEETING AT CHAPEL HILL. 

From the Chapel Hill Gazette, July 13. 

Upon Friday the 10th instant very painful rumors of the sudden death 
of the Rev. Dr. Mitehell, on Black Mountain, reached Chapel Hill. On 
Saturday these rumors received some confirmation, and upon Sunday even- 
ing all doubt was removed by intelligence that his body had been found 
floating in the Cat-tail Fork of Caney River, in the county of Yancey, at a 
point where the water was about twelve feet in depth ; circumstances ren- 
dering it very probable that he had fallen some forty feet, from a preci- 
pice overhanging the river. His hand still clasped a broken branch of 
Laurel. 

Dr. Mitchell had been busily engaged for several days in making Baro- 
metrical and Trigonometrical observations upon Black Mountain. On 
Saturday, the 27th of June, he had nearly completed these labors. During 
that day he separated from his son in order to visit Caney River Settle- 
ment, making an appointment to meet him the next Monday at the Moun- 
tain House. He was not seen again, and it was only after several day's 
search by many citizens in that vicinity, carried on with ardor and sym- 
pathy which do them great honor, that his body was found on Tuesday 
evening, the 7th of July, as is above described. It is understood that he 
was interred at Asheville on the 10th instant. 

Upon receiving the above intelligence, the citizens held a full and solemn 
town-meeting in the University Chapel. On motion of David L. Swain, 
Edward Mallett, Magistrate of Police, was called to the Chair, and Jones 
Watson, Esq., was appointed Secretary. 

The Chairman announced that in anticipation of such a meeting, he had 
appointed the Rev. Dr. Hawks, who providentially was with us upon this 
occasion, together with Samuel F. Phillips Esq., a Committee to prepare 
resolutions for the consideration of the meeting. 

Dr. Hawks then arose, and gracefully alluding to his own deep interest 
in the community amidst which he had received his early education, con- 
tinued in a few eloquent and touching observations upon the occasion 



29 

which had called forth this display of feeling, and then submitted the fol- 
lowing preamble and resolutions : — 

" Whereas, It has pleased our Heavenly Father, in His wise Providence, 
to take unto Himself the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, late Professor of Chemistry 
and Geology in the University of North Carolina ; we the inhabitants of 
Chapel Hill, convened in town meeting, for the purpose of testifying our 
respect for the memory of a good man, who has gone to his reward, — 
leaving it to his associates to render their appropriate tribute to his ^vell 
. known scientific character, desire to speak as his fellow citizens, and bear- 
ing our willing testimony to his worth as a man, have 

Resolved, That in the death of Dr. Mitchell, our whole community has 
sustained a loss not easily repaired, in the removal of one who, resident in 
this village for forty years, has, during that period, fulfilled all the duties 
of an enlighted, public-spirited citizen, with the most exemplary proprie- 
ty, illustrating in his daily walk and conversation the christian principle 
by which his life was regulated. 

Resolved, That in no one particular has his example been more striking 
than in his universal kindness to the poor and suffering. Ever ready to 
help his fellow creatures, and mindful that his Master went about doing 
good, while he ministered to the spiritual wants of the blind and erring, 
he was no less prompt in alleviating bodily misery : and the poor of Chapel 
Hill and its vicinity, who have been partakers of his silent and unostenta- 
tious benevolence, will especially have cause long to treasure up the me- 
mory of their departed friend and benefactor. 

Resolved, That our whole community, of all classes, gratefully recogniz- 
ing the worth of an eminently good man now removed from among us, and 
submitting, in humble faith to the dispensation of the Gracious God who 
has seen fit thus to visit us with sorrow ; do tender our Christian sympa- 
thy and love to the bereaved family of our departed friend ; and mingling 
our smaller sorrow with their more grievous and heavy affliction, do com- 
mend them in our prayers to the merciful goodness of that everlasting 
God whose chastenings to his children are but proofs of his afiection. 

Resolved, That the individuals composing this meeting will, as a mark 
of respect for the memory of Dr. Mitchell, wear the usual badge of mourn- 
ing, on the left arm, for thirty days. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions, duly certified by the officers^ 
of this meeting, be communicated to the family of Dr. Mitchell. 

These were seconded by President Swain who dwelt in terms of strong 
eulogy upon the long public services of the deceased, lamentingover a loss 
which to himself, he added, was irreparable. 

Other remarks, appropriate to the occasion, were made by Messrs. S. F. 



30 

Phillips, Sidney Smith, Charles Phillips and Jones Watson. Thereupon 
the Resolutions were passed unanimously. 

Upon motion of S. F. Phillips, the persons present went in procession 
to the residence of Dr. Mitchell, in order to present in person to his fami- 
y, the resolutions that had been adopted. This having been done, the 
meeting adjourned. 

All the stores and other places of business of our town were closed and 
^11 business suspended, during the meeting. 



MEETING AT FATETTEYILT.E. 

rrom the Argus, July 18. 

DEATH OF PROF. MITCHELL, 

This great man is no more. By his death the cause of science has sus- 
tained an irreparable loss — Chapel Hill one of its strong pillars — and 
North Carolina one of her noblest sons. 

As will be seen below, he came to his death among those mountains 
which had so long been the subject of his investigation — a martyr to sci- 
-ence. 

Prof. Mitchell has occupied the position of Professor in our University 
for thirty years or more, and has during that period, established his repu- 
tation as one of the very first scholars in the country. 

We learn from the Standard that a peak of the Black Mountain has 
been selected for the burial of Dr. Mitchell. This we are rejoiced to know. 
No place could be more fitting for the last renting place of the illustrious 
dead, than those grand and magnificent Mountains that were so long the 
object of his study. No more suitable monument could be reared to his 
memory which must endure as long as Mountains stand. 

We append the following Resolutions which were passed in this town, 
•by the resident graduates of the University of North Carolina. 

A meeting of graduates of the University of North Carolina residing in 
.and near Fayetteville was held on Tuesday, July 14, 1857, W. J. Ander- 
son, Esq., presiding, and Mr. Geo. H. Haigh acting as Secretary. 

The Chairman having announced the melancholy intelligence on account 
of which they had been called together, 

Messrs. W. B. Wright, John Winslow, W. A. Huske, W. II. Haigh, J. 
€. Huske, R. P. Buxton, P. M. Hale, R. H. Sandford, and B. Fuller, rep- 
resenting difierent classes, were appointed a Committee to prepare resolu- 
tions suitable for the occasion. 

Whekeas, Almighty God, by a painful and most melancholy act of his 



31 

Providence, has brought to a sudden and sad end the life of our former 
respected preceptor and friend, the Rev. Dr. Elisha Mitchell, Professor in 
the University of N. C. : 

Therefore, Kesolved, That we have received intelligence of this most 
mournful event with feelings of pain and unmingled sadness. 

Resolved, That as in his life we have have been made debtors to him by 
his faithful instructions and by his unwearied devotion to our best inter- 
ests, so now in his death we cherish his memory in our hearts. 

Resolved, That the Rev. Dr. Elisha Mitchell, by his great and varied 
learning, by his indefatigable zeal in the pursuit of knowledge, his spirit 
of invincible perseverance in whatever he deemed to be right, by his devo- 
tion to the duties of his profession, whether as a teacher of science or as a 
teach<^r of the religion ot the Gospel, by his devotion to the interests of his 
pupils, to the interests of the University of which he was so distinguished 
a Professor, and by his devotion to the interests of the State at large, and 
in a word, by a long, honorable, and useful life of incorruptible integrity 
and fidelity to duty, has made himself to be an ornament and an example 
to his profession and to his fellow men in general. 

Resolved, That in view of the eminent services which he has rendered 
the State, direcili/, by the prompt and faithful discharge of particular du- 
ties assigned him, and less directly, but not less effectively by his devotion 
to the cause of education, the deceased has entitled himself to a public 
testimonial of respect to his memory ; and we hereby pledge ourselves to 
assist in any measure tending to that end. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family of the 
deceased, with an expression of our sincerest sympathy and condo- 
lence ; and also, that a copy be sent to his brethren of the Faculty, and to 
each of the Literary Societies at Chapel Hill, with the request that they 
be filed in their archives. 

The resolutions were unanimously adopted. 

W. J. ANDERSON, Chairman. 

George H. Haigh, Secretary. 



MEETING AT GEEENSBOEO'. "^ 

From the Times, August 23. 

A MEETING of former pupils and friends of Dr. Mitchell, resident in 
Greensboro and vicinity, was held in the Court House on Monday evening 
last, for the purpose of giving public expression to their feelings of grief 
and sympathy, excited by the painful intelligence of his death. 



32 

Hon. James T. Morehead was called to the Chair on motion of John H. 
Coble, and on motion of R. M. Sloan. Jr., Charles E. Shober, Esq., was 
appointed Secretary. 

On taking the chair, Mr. Morehead addressed the meeting appropriate- 
ly and feelingly upon the mournful subject which had called it together. 
He was a student at the University when Dr. Mitchell first became con- 
nected with it, and had known him intimately ever since. He was there- 
fore well qualified by length of acquaintance to speak of him. 

On motion of Rev. C. H. Wiley, the chairman appointed a committee, 
consisting of Ralph Gorrell, Esq., R. P. Dick, Esq., Jesse H. Lindsay, Sr., 
W. L. Scott, Esq., J. A. Long, Esq., and Rev. C. H. Wiley, to prepare 
resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the meeting. The committee 
retired, and after a brief absence, reported through their chairman Rev. 
C. H. Wiley, the following Preamble and Resolutions : 

Whereas, we have heard of the recent death of the Rev. Elisha Mitch- 
ell, D. D., late Professor in the University of our State, under circumstan- 
ces peculiarly sad and startling, and well calculated to excite the tender- 
est interest and sympathy on the part of every lover of science, therefore, 

Resolved, That we have received the tidings of this melancholy event 
with emotions of profound sorrow, cherishing as we do a lively recollec- 
tion of the many amiable qualities, of the great and varied acquirements, 
and of the long, laborious and useful services of our lamented friend and 
instructor. 

Resolved, That we regard the death of Prof. Mitchell as a public calami- 
ty, long identified as he has been with the progress of science and scien- 
tific improvements in North Carolina, devoted to her interests and her 
honor, and for many years an invaluable member of the Faculty of her 
University, which is greatly indebted to his zeal, his learning and his in- 
dustry for its eminent success and illustrious character. 

Resolved, That we cordially respond to the suggestion that some fitting 
and lasting monument to the memory and character of the deceased 
should be erected among those stupendous scenes amid which he fell a 
Martyr to the cause of Science, and that, to this end, we will contribute 
of our means and influence. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family of the 
deceased with the expression of our sincerest condolence and sympathy, 
and that copies also be sent to the Faculty of the University and to each of 
the Literary Societies, with a request that they be entered on the records 
of the University and filed in the archives of the Societies. 

Mr. Wiley accompanied the report of the resolutions with a few re- 
marks mainly explanatory of the manner of Dr. Mitchell's death as he 



33 

had received it from a resident of the region of country where the painful 
casualty occurred, and then the resohitions were unanimously adopted. 

On motion of Julius Gorrell, Esq., the newspapers of the town were re- 
quested to publish the proceedings of the meeting, and then, on motion, it 

was adjourned. 

JAMES T. MOREIIEAD, Chairman. 

Charles H. Shober, Secretary. 



MEETING AT WILMINGTOJSr. 

From the Wilmington Herald, August 5. 

AccoRDiXG to previous notice, a meeting of the Trustees, former Students, 
and Alumni of the University of North Carolina was held in the Court 
House in the town of Wilmington on the 29th of July, 1857. 

On motion Dr. Thomas H. Wright was called to the chair, and John D. 
Taylor requested to act as Secretary. 

The object of the meeting was explained in a few feeling and appropri- 
ate remarks by George Davis, Esq., who also moved the appointment of 
three to draw up suitable resolutions expressive of the sense of the meet- 
ing. Whereupon George Davis, Esq., Rev. Dr. C. F. Deems and Eli W. 
Hall, Esq., were appointed by the Chair. 

The Committee through their chairman, Dr. Deems, submitted the fol- 
lowing resolutions which were unanimously adopted. 

AVhereas, the whole State of North Carolina has recently been called 
to mourn the sudden and violent close of the life of Rev. Elisha Mitchell, 
D. D., Senior Professor in the University, and whereas no other section of 
the State can furnish a larger proportionate number of those who have 
enjoyed the acquaintance of the eminent deceased, therefore 

Resolved, That the Trustees and former Students and Alumni of the 
University of North Carolina, and the friends of science and of the late 
Prof. Mitchell, assembled in Wilmington, do sincerely sympathise with the 
general grief which his death has spread over the country ; that his great 
abilities, vast acquirements, and indomitable industry, while they combin- 
ed to present in him a model to the young men of the land, did much to- 
wards the elevation of the University of our State to that lofty position 
which it maintains among the very first institutions of learning in Ameri- 
ca ; that his contributions to general science have given him a respectable 
place among the most learned, and his special devotion to the development 
(if all the physical resources of North Carolina has laid the State under 
obligations which the gratitude of many a generation will scarcely avail 
to cancel. 



84 

Resolved, That we will unite in whatever plan the authorities of the 
University mav adopt to perpetuate the excellent memory of him whose 
devotion to the interests of the Institution through more than the ordinary 
time of a generation has entitled his name to be held in reverential re- 
membrance. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the family of 
the late Dr. Mitchell, with the expression of the most sincere and tender 
sympathy of this assembl3^ 

Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be furnished to the Presi- 
sident and Faculty of the University of North Carolina, and our condol- 
ence with them at the great social and official -breach made in their ranks 
by the recent dispensation of Divine Providence. 

Resolved^ That these proceedings be published in all the papers in 
Wilmington. 

Dr. Deems, after offering the resolutions, paid an eloquent and touching 
tribute to the memory of Dr. Mitchell, testifying from his intimate asso- 
ciation with him as a colleague, friend, and neighbor, to his many gene- 
rous traits of character and kindness and benevolence of heart. 

On motion of James C. Smith, Esq., the meeting then adjourned. 

THOMAS 11. WRIGHT, Chairman, 

John D. Taylor, Secretary. 



TESTIMONIALS OF RESPECT. 



RESOLUTIONS OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY. 

Raleigh, July 4, 1857. 

At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Trustees of the Uni- 
versity, at the Executive office in this Citj on the 4th inst., the following 
proceedings were had : — 

His Excellency Governor Bragg having officially communicated intelli- 
gence of the recent, sudden, aud melancholy death of the Rev'd Dr. Elisha 
Mitchell, late Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology in the 
University, the Executive Committee, in view of his character as a Chris- 
tian gentleman ; of his arduous, long continued and inestimable services 
in the Academic corps, and his distinguished position for the last forty 
years as a member of the Faculty, in the administration of the affairs of 
the College ; in view of his eminent attainments in literature and science ; 
his ardent patriotism and public services ; consider the present a fit occa- 
sion to express their unanimous sentiment of true condolence and sympa- 
thy with the widow and family of the deceased, with the officers and mem- 
bers of the College, and the people of the whole State, at the sad and 
overwhelming bereavement which we have all sustained ; and in the name 
and on behalf of the whole body of the Trustees of the University, this 
Committee will cordially unite with other associations and individuals in 
paying enduring honor to his memory. 

Resolved, That the half year's salary of the professor, for the residue of 
the present fiscal year, be paid by the acting Bursar of the College to the 
widow of the deceased, and that her family be permitted (if she so desires 
it) to continue the occupation of her present residence until the close of 
this year. 

Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing proceedings be placed in the 
hands of the widow of the deceased. 

In consideration of the vacancy occurring by the death of Dr. Mitchell, 
in the Professorship of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology, and the Bur- 
sar's Bureau at the beginning of the session just commencing: 

Resolved, That to enable the Board of Trustees to till these places per- 
manently, with judgment and discretion, the President of the University, 
Gov. Swain, be authorized and requested, with the concurrence of the 
Faculty to distribute the various duties of these several offices among such 



36 

members of the Faculty as may be willing to undertake them, and, if ne- 
cessary, to appoint one or more tutors. That such temporary arrangements 
shall be in force for and during the present session only; or, for such 
shorter peried as the Board of Trustees or this Committee shall hereafter 
determine. 

Test : CHAS. MANLY, Sec'y. 



RESOLUTIONS OF THE FACULTY. 

Chapel Hill, July 17, 1857. 

At the first regular meeting of the Faculty of the Universit}", after a 
solemn prayer to Almighty God, the following paper was unanimously 
adopted. 

TVhereas, since the last meeting of the Faculty of the University, an 
All-Wise God has been pleased^ by a dispensation the more distressing be- 
cause unexpected, to take unto Himself the oldest member of our Body, 
the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D., Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and 
Geology: — bowing in humble submission to this sad bereavement, We, 
the Faculty of the University, desiring to bear our testimony to the worth 
of our departed companion and friend, and endaringly to record our tri- 
bute to his memory, have unanimously adopted the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That in the lamented death of our late associate we feel that 
the Institution to which we belong has lost one of the most valuable ofii- 
cers she ever possessed ; and that in the devotion of forty years to her 
service his zeal never slackened, his diligence never relaxed, his faithful- 
ness never slumbered ; but during all that long period, ripening constant- 
ly in experience, he consecrated his best faculties and varied attainments to 
the advancement of the usefulness and honor of the Institution of which 
he was so distinguished an ornament 

Resolved, That we cannot but feel also the loss that Science has sustain- 
<^d in the removal of our departed friend. Pursuing it in various depart- 
ments and not unsuccessful in any that he attempted, the rich and varied 
vStores of his well cultivated mind gave to him, deservedly, a celebrity that, 
reaching beyond the limits of this his immediate sphere of action, secured 
to his name and opinions a weight of authority that was felt and acknow- 
ledged by the scientific throughout our land; and in the midst of our re- 
grets it affords us a melancholy satisfaction to reflect that he met his death 
in the cause of Science, and thus, in appropriate keeping with the duties 
of his life has, in his death, added his name to the list of her honored 
martyrs. 



37 

Resolved, That our loss is in our view more sorrowful still when we 
think of him as the christian gentleman, whose heart overflowing with the 
tenderest sympathies of humanity, made him the ever beneficent friend of 
the poor ajad wretched ; as the minister of our Holy Faith, dispensing the 
precious truths of eternal life to the sinful and wayward ; as the watchful 
friend and faithful guardian of the young, by whom he was surrounded, 
ever ready to speak to them in gentleness and love,, the wise words of 
warning and counsel ; as the intimate companion and associate of our- 
selves, whose presence brought experience to our deliberations, and the 
cheerful playfulness of innocent mirth to our social intercourse. 

Resolved, That this our faint tribute to the worth of Dr. Mitchell be re- 
corded on our Minutes and that a copy thereof be communicated to the 
family by the Secretary ; accompanied with the assurance of the deep con- 
dolence and the heart-felt sympathy of every member of the Faculty. 

Resolved, That the Rev. Dr. Phillips be requested to deliver in the 
Chapel of the University, on Sunday next, an appropriate Funeral dis- 
course and that the President of the University himself be respectfully de- 
sired to prepare and pronounce before the University an Eulogy on our 
deceased brother, at such time as may suit his convenience. 



RESOLUTIONS OF THE STUDENTS. 

Chapel Hill, July 22, 1857. 

At a Meeting of the Students held in Girard Hall, the following resolu- 
tions were adopted in memory of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D., Profes- 
sor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology. 

Whereas, The All-wise God as part of his inscrutable dealings with 
men has seen fit to call our beloved and honored preceptor, Dr. Mitchell, 
from a life of labor and usefulness ; 

Resolved, That we do sincerely lament his decease, and tender our sym- 
pathies to his afiiicted family. 

Resolved, That in the death of Dr. Mitchell, the University has sustain- 
ed a loss scarcely to be repaired ; that we the students miss a true friend, 
Science an active, able and learned follower ; and Religion a sincere and 
zealous advocate. 

Resolved That his habits of laborious and patient research rendered him 
a model for every aspirant for honorable distinction ; that his great pro- 
ficiency in the departments of which he had charge, admirably fitted him 
for his office as a teacher ; that his intellect, naturally acute and compre- 
hensive, and by many years of reading and reflection the repository of al- 



38 

most every kind of useful or recondite knowledge, rendered him eminently 
an honor to this Institution and to the State ; that his high toned princi- 
ples commanded universal respect, and the kindness of his heart made him 
near to all who knew him. , 

Resolved, That in token of our high esteem for his memory, we will 
wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days. 



MEETING OF THE DIALECTIC SOCIETY. 

Dialectic Hall, July 24, 1857. 

Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God, by a most sudden blow to re- 
move from the midst of our community the Rev. Dr. Elisha Mitchell ; the 
Dialectic Society, acknowledges that the intimacy of his personal and offi- 
cial relations with all of its sitting members demands that it depart from 
the custom which renders such obituary tributes as this appropriate only 
to those who have been members of its particular organization ; the more 
especially as Dr. Mitchell was eminent among the lovers of Virtue and 
Science ; 

Resolved, That this catastrophe, which has caused a shock through all 
the domain of letters, occasioned a loss to this University, so great and 
peculiar as to call for the deepest sorrow on the part of all who have any 
connection therewith. 

Resolved, That although none of us had been privileged to follow our 
late revered Professor along those paths of study which were specially 
his own, yet we desire to say that we make it matter of honest pride 
that we were Students of the University during his era ; that we can re- 
call in after life many circumstances of profit and pleasure in our inter- 
course with him ; and record here our obligations to him for that high ex- 
ample that the much absorbed and universal student need not, amidst 
such pursuits, divest himself of those homely yet noble qualities which 
make the benevolent and public spirited citizen, the courageous magis- 
trate, and the humble and sincere christian — that the 3'^outh not only of 
the State, but of the country, will in years long yet to come, remem- 
ber him as one who guided the footsteps of their fathers amid many rug- 
ged paths in the search of knowledge and truth, and even by them 
will his name be recorded with those great benefactors of his race. 

Resolved, That upon the loss of this their distinguished member, we 
tender our condolence to our brethren of the Philanthropic Society, and 
pledge ourselves to co-operate with them in such manner for erecting a per- 
manent memorial of our respect and gratitude as may be deemed suitable. 



39 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be filed in the Archives of 
our Body and that one be sent to the bereaved family of the deceased as 
the last sad tribute of our respect to his memory. 

Resolved, That we also wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days, 

J. G. McNAB, 

J. G. MOREIIEAD, Jr., > Com. 

F. D. STOCKTON. 



MEETING OF THE PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY. 

Philanthropic Hall, July 26, 1857. 
The members of the Philanthropic Society having learned the sudden 
and melancholy death of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D,, the Senior Professor 
in our University ; to express the feelings which the sad event has inspired 
us with, have 

Resolved, That in the death of Dr. Mitchell our University and the cause 
of learning in our Country have suffered a great and irreparable loss ; that 
we, his pupils, are bereft of a most able, skillful and learned instructor, 
and have been separated forever from a man whom we admired and a 
friend whom we loved, whose many kind offices and wise counsels we shall 
sadly miss. 

Resolved, That we offer our sincere and earnest sympathies in this af- 
fliction to the family of our deceased friend, and to the Faculty of the Uni- 
versity which he served and honored so long. 

Resolved, That our Society, of which he was a member and whose inte- 
rest he always gladly served, has lost a warm and zealous patron and 
friend ; and that our members wear the badge of mourning for thirty days. 
Resolved, That the Committee present copies of these resolutions to the 
family of Dr. Mitchell, and to the Faculty of the University. 

W. S. HUMPHRIES, 
ADDISON HARVEY, 
S. D. GOZA, 
E. S. J. BELL. 



Com. 



MEETING OF THE TRUSTEES OF DAVIDSON COLLEGE. 

Davidson College, July 16, 1857. 
On motion of Rev. Dr. Lacy, 

Resolved, That a Committee consisting of C. L. Hunter, M. D., Rev. 
W. W. Pharr and Edwin R. Harris, Esq., be appointed to prepare resolu- 



40 

tions expressing the views of the Board, in relation to the sudden and 
melancholy end, of the late Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D., Professor in the 
University of North Carolina. 

The following Preamble and Resolutions were offered and unanimously 
adopted : 

Whereas, The Board of Trustees of Davidson College has just learned 
of the death of a venerable and learned Professor of the University of 
North Carolina, the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D,, who fell as a martyr to 
Science, and whereas his name is intimately connected with the building 
up and dissemination of sound learning in this State : 

Therefore, Resolved, That we deeply deplore the great loss sustained by 
the State at large, by the Church of Christ, of which he was an active and 
a useful member, and by the Institution of which he was a distinguished 
and prominent Professor. 

Resolved, That it becomes us, as a body of Christian men, to bow with 
reverence and humility, to this dark, melancholy and inscrutable dispen- 
sation of Providence, thus impressively reminding us that " in the midst 
of life we are in death." 

Resolved, That we cordially extend to the family and relatives of the de- 
ceased our sincere, condolence, and heart-felt sympathy in this their sudden 
and afflictive bereavement. 

Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing Preamble and Resolutions be 
forwarded to the family of the deceased, to the President and Faculty of 
the University, and to the Raleigh papers, with the request that the same 
be published. 

C. L. HUNTER, 

W. W. PHARR, y Com. 

EDWIN R. HARRIS. 



MEETING OF THE FACULTY OF DAVIDSON COLLEGE. 

Davidson College, July 18, 1857. 

At a meeting of the Faculty of Davidson College held on the 18th day 
of July 1857, the following Preamble and Resolutions were unanimously 
adopted, viz : — 

Whereas the painful rumors which reached us a few days ago of the 
sudden and melancholy death of a distinguished Professor of our State 
University has been surely confirmed, we cannot refrain from some ex- 
pression of the thoughts and feelings so naturally prompted by the sad 
news. 



41 

We regard the death of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, D. D., as a puhlic ca- 
lamity, which must fill all who knew his eminent worth with the pro- 
foundest grief. Not only the University, but the State, has suffered an 
irreparable loss in being thus suddenly deprived of the invaluable servi- 
ces of one of her most laborious, ardent and successful instructors of 
youth. And we have abundant reason to know that there are those among 
the best and ablest in nearly every State of the Union who have carried 
with them from the University the impression of his high and generous 
character as a christian gentleman and scholar, who will mourn his death 
as a personal bereavement. The church also, in this general grief, sor- 
rows most of all, because she has lost, in this distinguished philosopher an 
eminent christian minister and a noble exemplar of the high and essential 
harmony of Science and Religion. Through the whole of a long life he 
was an assiduous and enthusiastic devotee of Science ; and to us there is 
something of a melancholy, poetic grandeur and greatness in the place and 
manner of his death— whereby Science in burying one of her worthiest 
eons has hallowed a new Pisgah, which future generations shall know and 

mark. 

His career on earth is closed ; and this mournful dispensation of Divine 
Providence brings forcibly to the mind of us all the solemn admonition of 
our Lord, " Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son 
of Man Cometh." 

Resolved, That we deeply sympathies with the Faculty of the University, 
of which he was the oldest member, and has been so long an ornament and 
pillar, in the great loss they have sustained in this sudden and mournful 
visitation. 

Resolved, That a copy of this paper be sent to the family of Dr. Mitch- 
ell, not only to convey to them the expression of our sincere sympathy and 
condolence, but to remind them that though he, their stay and guide and 
light, is taken away from them and us, all is not taken ; that there is still 
left to them an imperishable heritage in the good fame and the wide and 
distinguished usefulness of this eminent servant of the Church and of the 
country. 

By order of the Faculty. C. D. FISHBURN, Clerk. 



MEETING OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF CHAPEL HILL. 

Chapel Hill, July L3, 1857. 
Whereas, It has pleased Our Heavenly Father in whose hands alone 
are the issues of life and death, to call from "kmong us our venerable and 



42 

much beloved fellow member, the Rev. Elisha Mitchell ; Therefore, 

Resolved, That we have received with feelings of the deepest sorrow, the 
intelligence of his sad and melancholy fate. 

Resolved, That while we bow with humble submission to the decree of 
. the Supreme Governor of all things, we shall ever cherish in our hearts, 
the sentiments of esteem and friendship, with which his life and charac- 
ter have impressed us. 

Resolved, That in his death the Commissioners and community of 
Chapel Hill have sustained an irreparable loss. 

Resolved, That we most sincerely sympathise with his bereaved family 
in their trouble and distress. 

Resolved, That these 'resolutions be spread upon the journals of the 
Village, that a copy be sent to the family of the deceased also to the 
Chapel Hill Gazette with request for publication. 

E. MALLETT, Magistrate Police. 
' P. H. McDADE, 
H. B. GUTHRIE, 
J. H. WATSON, 
C. SCOTT. 



> Commissioners. 



MINUTE OF PRESBYTERY. 

Minute adopted by the Presbytery of Orange at its session in Lexing- 
ton, N. C, October 20th 1857. 

" Inasmuch as it has pleased God to remove from us so suddenly, by 
a mysterious providence, our beloved brother, Elisha Mitchell — for nearly 
forty years a Professor in the University of North Carolina, having suc- 
cessively filled the Chairs of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and 
of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology — it becomes us, while we deplore 
our weighty loss, to submit humbly to the stroke laid upon us. Let us, 
therefore, remember that we are now taught in this Providence that the 
time is short, and that no loveliness, nor usefulness, nor learning can ex- 
empt us from the solemn call that soon awaits each of us. 

We recommend that a copy of this minute be sent to the family of the 
deceased brother with the hearty sympathy of this Presbytery. 

WM. N. MEBANE, Ch'n. Com. 



43 

MINUTE OF SYNOD. 

The Committee appointed by the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in 
North Carolina, at its meeting in 1857, reported the following minute to 
the meeting in 1858. 

** The Synod of North Carolina records with heart-felt sorrow the loss 
of one of its oldest members by the death of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell, J). D., 
Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology, in the University of 
North Carolina. Late in 1817, Dr. Mitchell was licensed to preach the 
everlasting Gospel by a Congregational Association of orthodox faith in 
Connecticut. He was ordained to the full work of the Gospel ministry by 
the Presbytery of Orange. His first sermon was preached in the Chapel 
of the University not long after his licensure, and his last in the Presby- 
terian Church in Salisbury, a short time before he perished. So his ministe- 
rial service of nearly forty years was rendered altogether while in commu- 
nion with this body. He was probably the most learned man that ever 
lived in this State. He was a skillful and conscientious Professor, and as 
such was constantly engaged in preparing for their various walks in life the 
youth of the land. He was a well-grounded believer in Revelation, and no 
common expounder of its doctrines in matters of Natural Science, as well as 
in those of Religion. The Synod gladly recognizes the healthful influence 
of his teachings upon the many generations of his pupils, in that he always 
led them, by precept and by example, to look for the Lawgiver of nature 
as well as for its laws. He also preached regularly to them the great 
doctrines of moral depravity, the necessity of an atonement by a Divine 
Redeemer, of regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, and of 
faith and repentance by each individual of the one race of Adam. By the 
will of God, he served his generation faithfully in his day, and he was cut 
off while surrounded with unfinished plans of usefulness. This death 
calls upon the Synod to lament that Science has lost a learned, patient, 
and devout investigator — that Education must miss an honest and accom- 
plished guide, and that Religion needs another faithful watchman upon 
the walls of Zion . The Synod also mourns for itself, the absence of one who 
was to many of its members a revered preceptor, and to all a sincere 
friend, and a worthy co-laborer in the harvest of God. 

In view of this solemn event the Synod resolves. 

That while it thanks the great Head of the Church for its long and 
fraternal intercourse with Dr. Mitchell, and for the example of untiring 
industry, unfailing liberality, unceasing acquisition, fearless conscien- 
tiousness, and consistent piety afforded by his life, its surviving members 
will so improve his sudden and unexpected death in the midst of his un- 



44 

dertakings, that, when their work here is done, they too may leave behind 
the savor of a life spent in the fear of God and the love of man. 

That the Stated Clerk of the Synod send a copy of this minute to the 
family of Dr. Mitchell as a mark of respect and sympathy from his breth- 
ren in Christ the Lord." 

DRUEY LACY, Ch'n. Com. 



THE RE-INTERMEIT 



PEOPOSED MONUMENT. 



TO THE PEOPLE OF NORTH CAROLINA. 

From the Asheville Spectator, 

The sad fate of the late Professor Mitchell of the University of North 
Carolina is well known to all. He perished in one of the wild gorges of 
the Black Mountain, during a laborious investigation which he had under- 
taken relative to the highest of the different peaks. Upon receiving this 
melancholy intelligence, a large number of the citizens of Buncombe and 
adjoining counties assembled in the Court House at Asheville to give some 
public expression of their feelings in regard thereto, when among others 
the following resolution was unanimously adopted : — 

Resolved, That, in our opinion, no more suitable testimonial of respect 
to the memory of the deceased could be given, than the erection of an ap- 
propriate Monument upon the mountain, with which his name and sad 
fate are so intimately associated ; and to carry out this purpose, w& ask 
the assistance of all good citizens of the State and the friends of education 
and science generally. 

In pursuance of the object herein expressed the undersigned were ap- 
pointed a committee to solicit aid from the citizens of North Carolina, and 
the former pupils and friends of the deceased everywhere. The family of 
Dr. Mitchell have given their consent to have his remains removed from 
Asheville and deposited on the highest peak of the Black Mountain, and 
as soon as the arrangements are all made this will be done. Abundance 
of granite, capable of being worked, is to be found on the very spot where 
we propose to erect this monument, and it is thought that $5,000 will be 
amply sufficient to accomplish what we desire. 

In view of the fact, that he was the first to visit these mountains and to 
make known their superior height to any east of the Rocky Mountains, 
and that he spent a great portion of his time, and finally lost his life in 
exploring them, we think it will be admitted that no more fitting testi- 
mony of esteem could be offered his memory, and no more fitting spot 
found whereon to erect it. The noble mountains themselves will stand 
his most worthy and enduring monument, but the State of North Carolina 
certainly owes him something, who has so long devoted his best energies 
to the instruction of her youth. 



46 

The committee propose by this circular simply to make known what ia 
intended, feeling confident, that to the good people of the State and the 
vast number of old pupils and personal friends of the deceased, nothing 
more need be said. The plan of the monument will be discussed when 
sufficient funds are' secured for its completion. They invite the co-opera- 
tion of the county committees, and of single individuals throughout the 
State. Contributions can be transmitted to the committee or any one of 
them, by any means most convenient, who will deposit all such sums in 
the Bank of Cape Fear at this place to await the making up of the requi- 
site amount. All papers friendly to this project are requested to copy this 
circular. 

Z. B. VANCE, 
JAS. A. PATTON, 
JOHN A. DICKSON, 
A. S. MERRIMON, 
D. COLEMAN, 
W. M. SHIPP. 



V Com. 



THE EE-INTEEMENT OF DE. MITCHELL'S EEMAINS. 



BY RICHARD H. BATTLE, ESQ. 



From the Raleigh Register, July 10, 1858. 

On the evening of Monday, the 14th of June, the body of Dr. Mitchell, 
after having rested for nearly a year in the pretty little grave-yard of the 
Presbyterian Church in Asheville was exhumed for re-burial on the top of 
the highest peak of the Black Mountain. Encased in coffins of wood and 
metal it was laid at the foot of a large Oak tree, preparatory to its removal 
the following morning. It was entrusted to the care of several energetic, 
able-bodied mountaineers, whose zeal in performing the laborious task as- 
signed them is worthy of high commendation. From the dawn of day on 
the 15th, till a full hour after darkness had settled down on the sides of 
the Black, and from a very early hour till near midday on the 16th, they 
were at work with scarcely a minute of rest or relaxation. 

From the nature of the road, by which the top of Mt. Mitchell was to be 
reached, it was hardly practicable that a regular procession should attend 
the body ; but many citizens of the town and visitors from a distance — 
among the latter, the venerable Bishop of the diocese of Tennessee, the dis- 
tinguished President of the.- University, and Messrs. Ashe and Mitchell, the 



47 

son-in-law and son of him we had met to honor — some in vehicles and 
others on hbrseback, left Asheville between 8 and 9 o'clock, a. m., seve- 
ral hours after the corpse had been taken from its former resting place. 
It being only twenty miles to Mr. Stepp's, a place of accommodation at the 
foot of the Black, we easily reached it in time to refresh ourselves with a 
good dinner, and a rest to prepare us for the more toilsome portion of our 
journey. The vehicles hitherto used being here dispensed with and bridles 
and saddles substituted in their place and animals being hired by those 
of us who had not provided ourselves upon leaving the village, the upward 
journey was begun about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. By a few, of prefer- 
ence or necessity, the ascent was made on foot ; but much the greater num- 
ber were mounted on surefooted horses or mules. 

The winding of the road up the steep sides of the mountain, to make 
the climbing possible for man and beast, gave to the long line of horsemen 
quite a striking appearance. Those in front seemed often to be going in a 
direction just opposite to that of those in their rear and the line was con- 
stantly assuming the form of the letter S. It was to one at alitle distance 
a sight strange and picturesque, viewed in connection with the surround- 
ing beauties of mountain scenery — the majestic oaks and chestnut trees, 
the undergrowth of mountain laurel and ivy and the large red and yel- 
low honey-suckles, the overhanging rocks and the little brooks, fresh from 
the springs a few yards higher up, that met us at every turn. At the ex- 
piration of about the fourth hour from the time of starting we had made 
but five miles, but half the distance from the base to the summits and reach- 
ed the "Mountain House" a little before sunset. This is what may be 
called a Summer Hotel and is from its situation a somewhat singular place 
of entertainment, standing, as it does, on or rather against, the side of the 
mountain at a point where, in some directions the declivity is very preci- 
pitous. It was, I believe, built at the expense of a wealthy citizen of 
Charleston, S. C, Mr. Wm. Patton, (lately deceased), who was himself in 
former years an occasional tenant during the heats of Summer. The furi- 
ous winds of Winter and the driving rain storms of the Spring would de- 
ter the stoutest heart from making it a permanent habitation. It is there- 
fore left to the mercy of the elements for six or eight months of the year 
and was untenanted at the time of our visit. 

It may not be amiss here to remark, that near the Mountain House ie 
first observed the change in the character of the growth on the mountain 
that constitutes its distinguishing feature. The trees and shrubs before 
mentioned as overhanging the first half of our winding road, at this point, 
and the corresponding altitude on all sides of the Black, give place to the 
Balsam, which is the exclusive growth df the mountain tops. It is 



48 

the dark green of this tree as seen from a distance that has given the name 
of " the Black " to this mountain or rather to this long range 6f peaks. It 
would be too much of a digression to enumerate the many uses to which 
this tree, with the resin it exudes, is put by the people living about the 
mountain for many miles from its base. 

The kind hospitality of some of the relatives of Mr. Patton, the proprie- 
tor, had procured for us the keys of the hotel, and made all our large com- 
pany free to enter at pleasure every apartment from cellar to garret, and 
select their places for sleeping. To the same gentlemen and to Dr. Boyd 
of the " Eagle Hotel," Asheville, we owed the means of satisfying a crav- 
ing appetite, the necessary consequence of the continuous exercise we had 
taken. Our numbers making sitting impracticable, we ate standing a pri- 
meval meal ; using our hands and fingers as plates and forks, and I might 
add, spoons. We were glad to find in hot coffee, which we swallowed with 
avidity without milk or cream, an effective sedative to nerves which the 
cold piercing air of our great altitude was rapidly unsettling. 

In the meanwhile those in charge of the body were toiling slowly up- 
ward. In many places, the oxen drawing a sled, upon which it had been 
placed, became useless in consequence of the muddiness or steepness of 
the way and for short distances the corpse was carried on the shoulders of 
the mountaineers. It was after nine o'clock, and many of our company 
had retired for the night before they arrived. One by one, tired, wet, 
muddy and chilled, these worthy men came in, seeking a share of the sup- 
per of which we had partaken and the pallets we had spread upon the 
floors. It was late before the house was quiet and even then, as thoughts 
of the novelty of our situation and of the mournful purpose for which we 
were there ; besides occasional whispers from some one more awake than the 
rest ; and the wintry state of the atmosphere — which not the blazing fires 
on our hearths, the thick blankets in which we were wrapped, nor the 
animal heat diffused from the bodies of so many room-mates could entire- 
ly dispel — all served to prevent our falling asleep for some time. 

An early start, after a hasty breakfast on the remnants of the supper of 
the preceding evening and securing the animals turned loose to shift for 
themselves during the night, enabled most of us from the Buncombe side 
to reach the top of Mt. Mitchell before 9 o'clock. While awaiting the 
commencement of the ceremonies we had several hours in which to enjoy 
the magnificent prospect our lofty elevation afforded us. The cold mists 
that at first enveloped the tops of the mountain were gradually dispersed 
by the sun as he rose higher in the heavens, and then was revealed to us 
a grander scene than it had ever before been our lot to behold. The ma- 
jestic heights of the peaks that with Mt. Mitchell rise from a common 



49 

base ; the Blue Ridge in the distance ; the deep frightful gorges on all 
sides below us, growing every moment more distinct as we gazed upon 
them and pictured to ourselves the fall and death of the old friend we 
were then to bury ; the river winding with their silver streams in every 
direction from their little sources in the recesses of the mountains ; the 
beautiful farms with their golden harvests, cultivated spots amid the 
boundless wilderness of trees ; the light fleecy clouds dotting the horrizon ; 
and the blue sky above ; all formed a picture that any one not entirely de- 
void of a taste for the beautiful in nature could not fail to gaze upon with 
feelings of silent admiration. 

In the meantime the sturdy mountaineers of Yancey were assembling in 
great numbers. They, many with their wives and daughters, had toiled 
up the long and steep ascent to witness the burial of the friend, who near- 
ly a quarter of a century before, endeared himself to them while laboring 
to ascertain the height of their famous mountain and explore its hidden 
recesses, who had died amongst them while verifying the results of those 
former labors and who was found by tJiem at the bottom of his watery 
grave. A stranger did not require words from them to know how they 
loved him while living and cherished his memory after death. They had 
not long to wait ; for the body, kept with much difficulty in its place on the 
sled, as the oxen made their way over the miry road and slippery roots 
was drawing near its final resting-place. At the foot of the steep knoll 
that forms the summit, the oxen and sled were finally dispensed with, and 
a friendly emulation was displayed by the Yancey Mountaineers in offering 
their broad shoulders to support the corpse. 

R. D. Wilson, Esq., of Yancey, being requested to act as Marshall, here 
formed a procession in the following order : 

Citizens of Buncombe. 

Citizens of Yancey. 

Students of the University. 

*■ THE CORPSE. 

Family of the Deceased. 
Trustees and Faculty of the University. 
The President and Rt. Rev. Orator. 
Upon reaching the summit of the Mountain, the lines in front of the^ 
the Corpse were opened and the procesion in reversed order advanced to 
the grave, Bishop Otey reading the impressive service of the Episcopal 
Church for the Burial of the Dead. Arrived at the brink of the grave, a 
necessarily shallow one dug mostly through rock, the body was lowered ; 
and the Bishop, from a desk formed of a stone taken from the grave, deli- 
vered a funeral address to an audience that stood or sat with heads. reve- 



50 

rently uncovered. When it is remembered that with great inconvenience 
and trouble and upon very short notice the Bishop had come from his dis- 
tant home on the banks of the Mississippi, every one is assured that he 
spoke the truth when he said, that gratitude and love caused him to be 
there to pay the last honors to the instructor and friend of his youth — 
surely such a tribute to friendship has been seldom offered in this selfish 
world. "We scarcely knew whom more to admii-e — him who inspired, or 
him who felt such undying friendship — him who was eidogized or him 
who spoke the eulogy. 

Upon motion of Gov. Swain a vote of thanks, that seemed to come from 
the inmost heart of the audience, and a request for a copy of the address 
for publication were unanimously adopted and were but a feeble testimony 
to the general appreciation of it. Though composed chiefly of people of 
the surrounding counties, Mountaineers, whose lives had been spent far 
from schools and academies of learning, the whole assembly seemed most 
deeply interested and impressed. And when the Rt. Rev. Orator spoke of 
the zealous and untiring labors of his departed friend, for forty years, in '~ 
the cause of religion and science and in the instruction of hundreds of 
the youth of this State — of all the Southern States, and of his tragic death 
in verifying in his old age measurements and observations made by him 
on that mountain long years before. I am sure there was not one of his 
hearers too young or too ignorant to feel that in the death of Dr. Mitchell, 
North Carolina lost one of her noblest sons, one of her brightest ornaments. 

f The able President of our University then, after paying a graceful com- 
pliment to the address we had so much admired, in words eloquent though 
unstudied, added his testimony to the truth and justice of its eulogy ; and 
alluding to the eminent appropriateness of the place of burial he expressed 
an intention on the part of himself and his friend N. W. "Woodfin, Esq., of 
Asheville, as owners, to present the ground on which they stood, the top 
of the high peak, to the Trustees of the University on condition that it 
shall be called Mt. Mitchell — alleging very truly, that the right of proper- 
ty is not more theirs than the right to give it a name. Of the propriety 
of this name, it seems to me, no one who has had the opportunity as we 
had on that accasion of interrogating Dr. Mitchell's guides to the different 

^ peaks in 1835, can entertain the slightest doubt. If the word of man, cor- 
roborated by independent circumstances, is to be believed, Dr. Mitchell > 
was on the summit on which his remains noiv rest, with William Wilson and 
Adoniran Allen in 1835. 

At the conclusion of ex-Governor Swain's address, which was extempo- 
raneous, James W. Patton, Esq., moved that he be requested to write it 
out for publication ; and R. Don Wilson, Esq., of Yancey, Col. Washington 



51 

Hardy, of Buncombe, and J. W. Graham of the University were appoint- 
ed a committee to confer witii him and with Bishop Otey, and to urge 
most earnestly the permission to publish their several addresses. 

To these solicitations I was happy to learn neither of the distinguished 
speakers considered himself at liberty to turn a deaf ear, and consent was 
given that the public should have in print, what was so edifying to us who 
were present at the delivery. Though they have not the propitious acces- 
sories of the occasion — the top of the lofty mountain, the open grave, the 
body of the departed, the tone of the speakers and the mournful faces of 
the listening hearers, to heighten the effect of what was said, I feel confi- 
dent that the general appreciation of it will be akin, if not equal to ours. 

It is a coincidence not unworthy of remark, that on Mt. Mitchell, in the 
persons of Bishop Otey and his respected friend and class-mate Dr. Tho- 
mas II. Wright of Wilmington, and of Mr. Graham and Mr. Mitchell the be- 
loved sou of the departed, were here to mourn at his funeral, members of 
the first and of the last class that Dr. Mitchell instructed at the University. 



MOUJ^T MITCHELL— JUNE 16, 1858. 



From the University Magazine. 

Proud Peak ! so sternly rising 'mid the smiling heaven — 
Thy haughty brow by thunderbolts and tempests riven. 
Dark bristling with thy jagged pines, like warriors mailed, 
And beetling crags where erst unharmed have eagles sailed. 
Among thy giant brothers grim, without a peer ; 
Thy solitudes unwaked from rolling year to year, 
By man, or aught, save howling storms or brutes of dread ; 
To-day, how thou must marvel at th' unwonted tread 
Of those who climb thy heights, and cloud-throned summit scale, 
To chant o'er Science' martyred son the funeral wail. 

Oh, haughtiest ingrate ! — to prove thy pride and place. 
E'en o'er proud Washington, king of the mountain race ; 
This was his eager wish from year to year pursued — 
And with his blood thy cruel clutches thou'st imbued ! 
Rock-hearted type of Pride, thou would'st undoubted claim, 
By search or measure true, of king the rank and name ! 
Oh hateful cliff, from whose rough, treacherous, wildering height, 



52 

The kind and wise old man fell on that saddest night, 

Sweet stream beneath ! whose pitying bosom took him in, 

As down, down, down, with headlong crash and horrid din 

Of hurtling stones around he fell, and none was nigh 

To hear, for help his last, heart-thrilling, gasping cry. 

Uproot the frail, weak. Laurel tree to which he clung ; 

False herb ! a precious life in truth upon thee hung 

That night, as oft it has on thy poetic meed — 

Alas ! thou^rt ever but the broken, piercing reed ! 

What, though it mocked his dying grasp, the treacherous laurel bough, 

Fame's self he'd won, and needed not the emblem now. 

A crown of glory shall be his beyond the grave 

O'er which his well-earned earthly laurels fadeless wave. 

Sleep, good and kindly man, in this thy tomb sublime : 

Such was thy wish, here to await the end of time. 

Honored wherever Science lifts her searching eye, 

Loved in thy classic home thy memory cannot die ! 

And Otey, who o'er thy pale, cherished form, doth say 
The last fond words that loving, honoring lips e'er may ; 
Weil may he feel the spell of place upon him now ; 
For he is mountain-born. Lo ! on his glorious brow 
High thoughts inspired fleet on, as storm and sunshine chase 
Each other o'er the calm, uplifted, mountain's face. 
Thou'rt like to Saul amidst his brothers ; he like each, 
And like thy far-off heights, his lofty soarings reach,' 
Far, far beyond the aching sight and easy ken, 
Of most who walk this earth and bear the names of men. 

On dark, blue, Otter's rounded peak, oft hath he said, 
" Make thou, my well beloved, my last and lonely bed :" 
But oh ! may God, the Merciful, forbid that thou 
Shouldst find a martyr's grave, as he we mourn o'er now. 
Yet what more noble, worthy, death may be desired ? 
The great, the good, he long pursued — achieved — expired. 

True nobleman of nature thou — gentle, yet firm, 
Honored to terror's verge by scholars through the term ; 
But like a brother loved, when college rule was done ; 
The master so august, and genial friend in one. 
Oh, noble Mitchell ! thy revered and cherished name 
Old Chapel Hill deems sweetest heritage of fame. 



53 

Oh ! tender, loving ones of his dear home embalm 
His memory with sighs ye must ; but seek for calm 
In all the good he living, did ; and dying, paid 
His life — upon the shrine of zeal in duty laid. 

Dark mountain king ! baptized with sacrificial blood, 
Mt. Mitchell now. Gained by this broad and easy road, 
Black Peak, no longer frowning unattained and wild, 
Love hath subdued thee to the footsteps of a child : 
A monument to that immortal power, thou'rt given 
To man, by Him who made and ruleth Earth and Heaven. 

Y. 0. M. 

Richmond, Va., June 16, 1858. 



^'That His Man's highest glory TO BE GOOD.'" 



A FUKERAL ORATIOI 

AT THE 

RE-INTERMENT OF THE REMAINS 

OF THE 

REV. ELISHA MITCHELL, D. D. 

LATE PROFESSOR OF 
CHEMISTRY, MINERAIiOGY AWD GEOIiOGT IN THB 

UNIVEESITY OF NORTH CAKOLINA. 

O^ MOILN^T MITCHELL, 
JUNE 15, 1858. 

BY THE 

RT. REV. JAMES H. OTEY, D, D., 

BISHOP OF TENNESSEE. 



CHAPEL HELL : 
I*IIBLISHED BY J. M. HENDERSON. 

PEINTEK TO THE UIOVEESITT. 

1858. 



A FUNERAL ORATION. 



Who needs to be told, in the midst of the awe-inspiring 
scenes of grandeur which here surround us, that '^ God on- 
ly is great ?" " There is neither speech nor language," but 
a voice conies from all these lofty heights, these profound 
and awful gulfs, comes to the soul of man— of every re- 
flecting man here, and re-echoes the sentiment of reve- 
rence to which Moses gave utterance in the sublime lan- 
guage, ''Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever 
the earth and the world were made. Thou art God from 
everlasting, and world without end !" 

Man and his works are perishable and ever perishing. 
:N"ature is more stable and enduring. The scenes of great 
events serve as striking memorials to future ages ; while 
the changeless features impressed upon them, convey by 
contrast, an awakening lesson of the mutability of human 
things. 

In the art in which genius sometimes displays its most 
brilliant powers, and fancy amuses itself with mimic repre- 
sentations of passions and wants on the great stage of life ; 
the curtain falls upon the scenery and action together : and 
when the walking shadows of being disappear, the '' coun- 
terfeit presentment" of objects, introduced to strengthen 
the illusion, is removed from view, as unmeaning lumber. 

Not so with the reality enacting on the wide and varied 
field of human existence and enterprise. The action, it 
is true, is fleeting and inconstant. Generations succeed 
each other in mournful and rapid succession; and their 



58 

works are swept away, as the leaves of the forest are dri- 
ven before the chilling blasts of autumn. But the scenes 
among which men labour and toil and struggle remain 
with the same characters unchanged, which God impressed 
upon them ; having all of perpetuity that earth can give ; 
destined to witness other crises and other catastrophes in 
the ever-passing drama of mortality ; and to furnish to 
the end of time, silent but truthful monuments to the 
facts of history. Races, institutions, religions and go- 
vernments; arts, trades, associations, and dynasties fol- 
low each other in mighty and varied series, sheltered be- 
neath the shadows flung from the same mountain heights, 
and mirrored in the same placid waters. The storied plain 
of Marathon with its encircling hills, its meandering rivu- 
let, its marsh — the grave of many a Persian horseman — its 
beach, battered by the surges of the ^gean sea, continues 
now, as on that memorable day, . when it was pressed by 
the feet of the flying Mede, with skaftless quiver and bro- 
ken bow, or trampled in hot haste by the furious and con- 
quering Greek, with red, pursuing speer ! But the na- 
tions, the ideas, the altars and the institutions of those who 
contended there for victory, are dissolved as utterly, and 
almost as long ago, as the bodies of the slain in the lonely 
mound which yet marks the spot of their inhumation. — 
The majestic summit of "high Olympus" still overlooks 
the peaceful vale of Thessaly, with the same lofty and pure 
eminence which commended it to heathen fancy as the 
throne of the Gods ; as the council chamber where " Jove 
convened the Senate of the skies," to decide the fate of na- 
tions. But the divinities themselves, the intellectual crea- 
tions of ancient poets ; the fair humanities of those old re- 
ligions which the ingenuity of Statesmen invented, or em- 
ployed, to effect political objects; the power, the beauty 
and the majesty that had there their imagined haunt, on 
its consecrated heights, have all vanished and live no Ion- 



69 

ger in the faitli or fancy of mortals. The truth of which I 
am speaking is most strikingly illustrated in the associations 
which henceforward will cling to this Father of American 
Mountains; rising here in majestic grandeur; with its 
rocky battlements scathed by the red lightnings, but yet 
unharmed; and throwing back the voice of the loudest 
thunders, from its deep-muttered and reverberating caverns, 
and transmitting the awful roar from crag to crag, until 
earth herself appears to shudder with fear and trembling. 
A few years only have elapsed since it stood here in solitary 
loneliness, unchronicled amidst changes which have mark- 
ed the passing away of nations of men that roamed under 
its woody sides or climbed its dizzy heights ! 

"We tread the scenes over which buried tribes and gene- 
rations of men once wandered ; we gaze upon the cloud-cap- 
ped summits which once filled their vision ; we strain the 
eye to trace the dim and distant outline that bounded their 
horizon ; the places which know us, knew them ; saw all 
that we would vainly explore ; and heard those shrouded 
secrets of the shadowy past which are never to be recover- 
ed from oblivion till the coming of that hour when " the 
earth shall give up her dead I" 

The eye of one who first drew breath in a northern clime, 
and moved by the most honorable motives which can go- 
vern human conduct, to seek useful employment in this, 
his adopted State, and led by the desire to add to the stock 
of human knowledge, or by the natural love of the sublime 
and beautiful, rested some twenty three years ago upon 
this glorious monument of the Creator's handy-work. He 
traversed its most deeply wooded dells ; he stood upon its 
loftiest peaks ; he gazed in rapture upon its bold and mag- 
nificent outlines of grandeur ; his spirit here drank in the 
sweet and elevating influences of the Heavenly world, and 
though no angels, messengers from the spirit -land, met him 
here to lift the veil that covers eternal things, yet here he 



60 

doubtless held communion with, his God, and in that soli- 
tude and silence which are most propitious to devotion, he 
felt in the mingled affections of love, reverence and fear that 
filled the soul of the disciple upon the mount of transfigu- 
ration and which inspired his breast, that it was indeed 
good for him to be here. 



*' Early had he learned 
To reverence the volume that displays 
The mystery, the life, that cannot die ; 
But in the mountains he did feel his faith !" 

" The whispering air 

Sends inspiration from the mountain heights/' 

Wordsworth. 



We know not what were the varied emotions and exer- 
cises of mind which the contemplation of these scenes of 
sublimity and beauty excited in him. "We know that he 
possessed a soul thoroughly attuned to the full appreciation 
of all these things ; and tastes formed and educated by 
study and observation to derive the most exquisite pleasure 
as well as profit from their contemplation. He has not, so 
far as I know, left on record any account of the reflections 
to which acquaintance with the view of these things gave 
rise. Whatever shape they took, sure I am, they were in 
spirit holy and elevating and if now they exist in words of 
human language, they remain as precious mementoes of 
love and affection to those who were enshrined in his heart. 
But mere selfish gratification formed no part of his charac- 
ter and its elements, if they mingled at all in the motives 
which actuated his pursuits, did so incidentally. If this 
constitution of his mind led him to investigate the laws and 
operations of nature and derive pleasure from such occupa- 
tions, the affections of his heart influenced him not less to 
turn all his discoveries and convert all his acquisitions to 
the good of mankind. Perhaps not a flower blooms on 
this mountain and sheds its fragrance to perfume the bree- 



61 

zes that fan its brows, but a specimen of it adorns his her- 
barium. Perhaps not a root draws nourishment and heal- 
ing virtue from its soil, but its like or a description of it 
enriches the collection of his Cabinet. Perhaps not an ani- 
mal roams through these wilds ; not a bird warbles its ma- 
tin notes of joy, or sings its vesper-hymn of praise, amidst 
these umbrageous groves ; not a reptile crawls around these 
rock-serrated ridges ; nor insect floats in the morning 
beams that herald the approach of the "powerful king ot 
day," or sports in the rays that leave their dewy kiss upon 
the brow of this giant son of the everlasting hills (as Mght 
throws around him her sable folds, inviting to repose,) that 
he has not observed its habits, tracked its ways, learned its 
instincts, and chronicled its history. Is there a rock up- 
heaved from yonder summit that throws exultingly its 
thunder-rifted crags to the sky, or that protrudes in stately 
and proud disdain, from yonder iron-bound and beetling 
cliffs, as though it held in contempt all smaller things ? — 
He knew its class, its composition, its age. Is there -a 
mineral that has been dug from these hills ; that has rolled 
down from these ridgy steeps ; or been uncovered by the 
torrents that rave and roar down these mountain sides ? — 
He knew its form and family, its value and its uses. Hither 
he brought the theodolite with its unerring precision to 
compute angles ; the surveyors chain to measure distances ; 
the compass to determine bearings ; the barometer to weigh 
the atmosphere and the hygrometer to ascertain its humi- 
dity. From all these elements of Scientific calculation as 
developed by means and instruments that speak no lan- 
guage but that of truth, simple, and naked truth — unmov- 
ed from propriety by envy, unswayed by the whisperings 
of ambition — he ascertained and proclaimed that this spot 
on which we here stand — this glorious summit, raised above 
the scenes of a toiling and weary world, was the highest 
land in the United States, East of the Mississippi River! 



62 

"Who then has a better right than he, to give it a name ? — 
I^one ; hj all that is praiseworthy in honest labor, sacred in 
truth and just in reward ! 

But what has convened this vast assembly ? What has 
brought the people from their homes as far as the eye can 
reach from this proud eminence over all the land below, to 
gather here in solemn silence — seriousness impressed on 
every countenance and reverence enthroned on every brow ? 
The dwellers in vales and on the mountain tops are here. 
The husbandman has left his plough ; the artisan his tools ; 
the professional man his office ; the merchant has quit the 
busy mart of trade ; the man of Science has closed the doors 
of his study ; the student has laid aside his books to come 
hither ! " The bridegroom has come forth from his cham- 
ber and the bride from her closet," the Fathers and Moth- 
ers of the land are here ! " Young men and maidens, old 
men and children ;" and the ministers of the Sanctuary are 
here to do honor to this occasion, and in this place no " un- 
fit audience chamber of Heaven's King," to consecrate the 
spot, as far as the act of man may, ''to deathless fame !" — 
No martial music breaks upon the hearing, stirring the 
hearts of men and gathering armed hosts in the serri- 
ed ranks of battle ; no sound of the trumpet, nor voice 
of prophet has collected this mighty concourse of living 
men ! I never saw such an assembly : I never expect to 
see the like again ! I never read of any thing in history 
approaching its equal or its parallel, except the gathering 
of the hosts of Israel on Mount Carmel at the call of Eli- 
jah ! In the physical features of the scene here presented 
to the eye, the proportions of grandeur and beauty more 
than equal those of Carmel. The moral grandeur of the 
object and of the assembly gathered by Elijah far surpass 
ours. Indeed they were never equalled in our world ex- 
cept when God descended upon Sinai and surrounded by 



63 

terrible emblems of power and glory proclaimed bis law 
to liis people. 

But wliat bas moved us, as by tlie spirit of one man to 
be bere to-day ? From tbe banks of tbe majestic Mississip- 
pi in tbe West, and from tbe sbores wbere tbunders tbe 
Atlantic wave in tbe East, we bave met on tbis midway 
ground. For wbat ? To do bomage to goodness, my 
countrymen ! Some of us to pay tbe tribute of our love in 
tears to tbe memory of one wbo was dear to us as a Fatber 1 
Many of us wbo in years long past could appropriate tbe 
language of tbe propbet in bebalf of Israel and say, "My 
Fatber ! tbou art tbe guide of my youtb. ' ' All of us to testi- 
tify our appreciation of merit and by one act to link for 
ever tbe bonored name of Elisha Mitchell, witb tbis Mo- 
narcb of Mountains. Here tben, and to-day, we commit to 
tbe ground all tbat remains of bis perisbable body. Here, 
in tbe face of Heaven, in tbe ligbt of yonder Sun, wbose 
radiance beams brigbtly on tbis spot wben darkness veils 
tbe world below, and tbe storm-cloud witb its fringes of 
^e girdles tbe mountain waist, — in tbe name of trutb, 
bonor, and justice; by rigbt of prior discovery; by merit 
of being tbe first to claim tbe bonor of actual measurement 
and matbematical determination ; by virtue of labors en- 
dured witb unremitting patience, and terminated only by 
deatb ; we consecrate tbis mountain by tbe name of Mt. 
Mitchell and we call upon you to speak your approval and 
say Amen ! Yes, we consecrate it — a monument raised 
to tbe memory of Dr. Elisha Mitchell, to a fame, 

" Unwasting, deathless and sublime, 

That will remain while lightnings quiver, 

Or stars the hoary summits climb, 

Or rolls the thunder chariot of Eternal Time." 

A. Pike. 

Here I migbt consider my undertaken task as finisbed — 
tbe object of my long and wearisome pilgrimage as consum- 
mated ; but I must crave your indulgence, wbile I endea- 



64 

vor in liuinble imitation of him whose deatli we deplore, 
and whose virtues we honor, to improve even this occasion 
to the practical benefit of my fellow men. Such, methinks, 
would be his course, if he were living and called to act in 
the circumstances under which I find myself placed. He 
allowed no opportunity to pass unimproved, if by any 
means he could employ it to the good of mankind. Little 
did I think, this tkne last year, that I should be soon called 
to ofiiciate at his burial — to see the doors of death opened 
and then closed upon him, till the clangor of the Archan- 
gel's trumpet shall break the silence of the grave, and the 
dawn of the resurrection morn shall shed its light over all 
the places of the scattered and slumbering dead ! But 
God's ways are inscrutable — his wisdom unsearchable and 
his judgments a great deep. Submission, trust and hope 
are the virtues which his dealings with us evermore and 
emphatically inculcate. 

About seven years ago I stood by the tomb of Sir Wal- 
ter Scott, the great Weird of the E'orth — the man whose 
genius by a kind of magic influence held the world spell- 
bound. His grave was made under an arch in the ruins of 
Dryburg Abbey and covered with a plain slab of Sand-stone, 
his name with the date of his birth and death inscribed up- 
on it. His wife and eldest son reposed in death by his side, 
one on the right, the other on his left. It was the most 
melancholy-looking place I ever saw. The spirit of sad- 
ness seemed to preside over the spot ; to utter its low voice 
in the gentle and just audible murmurs of the Tweed ; to 
breathe sighs in the light winds that whispered through the 
trees and to brood over all the scene like a dull haze ob- 
scuring the brightness of the sky. It seemed to me, as if this 
great man had come to this secluded spot to lay down the 
burden of mortality in mockery of the pride and vanity of 
human expectations. It is well known, that his fondest 
and most earnest desires were to attain the honors and ti- 



65 

ties of a baronetcy and to become tbe founder of an enno- 
bled family. For tliis, liis vast and versatile powers were 
taxed to tlie utmost strength, and even beyond endu- 
rance. He seemed just on the eve of realizing his ardent- 
ly cherished hopes. His literary fame was redolent with 
the praises of a world of admirers. He attracted the favor- 
able notice of his sovereign, and through the interest of one 
and another, powerful in Court influence, he gained the 
name of Baron. And very soon the vicissitudes of trade, 
through which he hoped to acquire the means of maintain- 
ing his newly conferred dignity, imposed on him the stern 
obligation of laboring for his bread, and the liquidation of 
the j ust claims of his creditors. Bravely he waged the battle 
of life : But '' time and change happen to all ' ' and at last the 
mightiest of all conquerers met him : and in his grasp he 
yielded up life and all its promises of distinction, with as 
little resistance as an infant oflers to the over-mastering 
and crushing strength of a giant. For what purpose had 
he lived and to what end had he employed the command- 
in o- talents with which God had endowed him? It is 
an accredited ma^sim, ^' de mortuis nil nisi bonum'' — that is 
speak nothing derogatory of the dead. We accept the 
aphorism, and mean not to deny its obligation in practice. 
We would not take one leaf of pine or laurel from that 
crown with which the suflTrage of a world has graced the 
brow of Scotland's favorite son. But by suggesting a com- 
parison between the works of the great Magician of the 
Korth and the unobtrusive and patient labors of the Profes- 
sor toiling for forty years in the Academic shades of Caro- 
Una, in their acknowledged results upon human society, I 
would add a modest and unpretending Forget-me-not to the 
wreath which adorns the honored head of our beloved 

friend. 

We ask, how much have the writings of Sir Walter con- 
tributed to the formation of correct principles of human 



6Q 

conduct, and enforced the obligations of virtue ? To the 
entertainment of the world they have made a large contri- 
bution. He has made Scotland classic ground. He has 
converted her hills into mountains, her fresh ponds into mag- 
nificent lakes, her rivulets into deep, flomng rivers. Every 
thing he has robed with the colors of imagination ; but 
when you come to look at the reality, you are astonished 
to find that of all men, he has furnished in his descrip- 
tions of men and things, the most striking, mai-vellous and 
thoughtful exemplification of what his brother poet, Camp- 
bell says, in the opening of his poem, on the Pleasures of 
Hope ; 

" Tis distance lends enchantment to the view." 

His characters are unreal ; his estimate of the obligations 
and standard of virtue, defective ; his exemplifications of 
principles in practice, imaginary and very rarely such as 
any judicious father could safely propose for the imitation 
of his children. It is more than probable that there is not 
a living man in the world, whose character has been fash- 
ioned after the model which Sir Walter Scott has drawn of 
the most brilliant conception which his iliind has realized 
of human excellency. And herein lies the marked clifie- 
rence between the practical teacher — the conscientious in- 
structSr and trainer of the young, and the man whose con- 
ceptions of life and its responsibilities are embodied in the 
dreams of poetry, and in the thrilling and moving scenes 
depicted in the descriptions of the writers of Romance and 
Fiction. 

Wlien we stand by the grave of Professor Mitchell we 
feel that we are near the ashes of one who has labored and 
striven conscientiously in the noblest and holiest of the 
causes of humanity. That cause was, and is, and must ever 
be, to develop and strengthen the intellectual powers in 
alliance with efforts to cultivate and cherish and bring 
into healthy action the moral affections; in a word to 



67 

educate the head and the heart at the same time. IN'ever 
was there a greater mistake nor one more injm^ious to per- 
sonal and relative interests, to social and puhlic weal than 
to separate these and attempt to effect a divorce between the 
intellectual and the moral in man. What sort of a creature 
would a man be, if he had no heart ? 'No heart to feel for 
another's woe ; nor to rejoice with them that rejoice ; and 
never to weep with them that weep ; to have no word 'of 
encouragement for the desponding ; no look of compassion 
for the suffering; no hand to feed the hungry or clothe the 
naked ; no promptings to go on errands of mercy to the 
sick and dying ? Yet this is what the presuming wisdom 
and arrogant spirit of this age has attempted in some of the 
highest and, in point of mental furniture, some of the best 
endowed institutions in our country. 

With such a system Professor Mitchell held no sympa- 
thy. Defective as all institutions founded upon Legisla- 
tive patronage unquestionably are, in necessary provision 
for teaching Christianity as a system of divine revelation for 
the salvation of men, and that, in consequence of the petty 
rivalries and mean jealousies of sectaries, who seem unable 
to comprehend and embrace the enlarged and catholic 
spirit of the gospel, and who would see every institution of 
learning in the land crumbled into ruins rather than not 
have a direct share in its management and government, — • 
this defect in moral training founded on the recognition of 
the great facts and doctrines of Christianity, so justly com- 
plained of by parents, and particularly by religious parents, 
in the education of their sons. Professor Mitchell, I 
know, endeavored to supply by infusing the religious ele- 
ment, as much as possible, into his instructions in the 
lecture room, and more especially in his conversation 
with those who were so fortunate as to win his perso- 
nal regard. More than forty years have now elapsed since 
he first entered the walls of the North Carolina Universi- 



t 



68 

ty, and assumed the duties of the chair of Mathematics. 
I was there then, an untaught, undisciplined and unsophis- 
ticated youth. I remember what a deep impression his 
commanding form, his noble brow on which mind seemed 
enthroned, and his dark, lustrous eye made upon our young 
hearts. Besides him there were the President, the vene- 
rable Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Hooper, Professor of languages, 
and two Tutors, the late Priestly H. Mangum, and John 
M. Morehead, afterwards Governor of the State. Profes- 
sor Olmsted, now of Yale, his '^Jidus et cants comes " 
added his strength to the Academic Corps, some months 
later. How many now living and dead whose characters, 
as developed in the various departments of human life, have 
the precepts and example of Professor Mitchell in the last 
forty years contributed more than any other man's influ- 
ence to form and develope ! 

Does any one ask where are the monuments of his labors ? 
We answer they will be found among the members of the 
Cabinet — among Senators in the Council Chamber — Rep- 
resentatives in the Halls of Congress — Governors of States 
— Judges sitting in the highest places of Justice — Legisla- 
tors — Ministers to Foreign Governments — Heralds of the 
Cross — Men of renown in all the departments of human 
enterprise — Lawyers, Physicians, Professors, Schoolmas- 
ters — a mighty array of talent, of learning and worth, the 
influence of which is felt through all the land, and will con- 
tinue to be felt while industry and knowledge shall be 
honored, or gratitude find a name and place of esteem 
among men. 

Have not the recorded observations of mankind given 
the character of an established and admitted fact to the as- 
sertion that a man's future usefulness depends upon his 
early associations ? and that the destiny of every human 
being is written upon his heart by his Mother or by. his 
Teacher ? If " the Boy is father of the Man," how much of 



69 

the excellency and usefulness of tliat manhood depends up- 
on the wisdom, the sagacity, the care and the skill of him 
to whom is entrusted the rearing and training of that boy! 
Socrates was the teacher of Phito and of Aristotle, the 
briglitest luminaries of the ancient heathen world ! And 
of this last, Philip of Macedon, the w^isest monarch of his 
day, and father of Alexander the Great, is said to have ex- 
pressed his high admiration by writing, that he was not so 
"thankful to the Gods for making him a father, as he w^s 
for their giving him a son in an age when he could have 
Aristotle for his instructor." 

If the time permitted I could tell you, by the recital of 
remembered instances, how Professor Mitchell's wise and 
far-reaching care, his ever-present and friendly watchful- 
ness and parental solicitude for the student, manifested 
themselves in the lecture room, on public occasions, in the 
social circle, and in the administration of discipline. Eve- 
ry where, and in all things, he acted as if under an abiding 
conviction, that he was forming the princij^les and char- 
'detev of those to whom would presentl}^ be committed, not 
only their own individual, personal happiness, but the 
guardianship of the great public interests of the land, and 
the momentous concerns of souls that would live when the 
cares and turmoil of this world were ended. Thoughts 
dwelling upon these responsibilities were ever present with 
him, and words of instruction, of advice and of warning, as 
the occasion served, mingled themselves in, and if I may 
»o say, infused fragrance to, all his direct communications 
with the young. I could tell you how he projected short 
pedestrian excursions into the surrounding country for the 
benefit of his class, in order that the}' might reduce the prin- 
ciples of science which they had learned from the book into 
practice ; and how his conversation always abounded with 
striking and pleasant anecdotes, about men of other coun- 
tries and other times ; intended by him not only to relievfes 
6 



70 

the weariness of labor, but to serve as striking illustrations 
of some moral truth spoken, or as incentives to persevering 
effort, or to inspire a worthy emulation. I could tell you 
how he was ever ready to relieve the difficulties of the stu- 
dent, by patient efforts at explanation ; to unfold to him the 
intricacies of mathematical calculations ; the mysteries of 
science — its sublime truths, the use and the beauty of their 
application — how he wrought for his improvem.ent from 
the garnished heavens where myriads upon myriads of 
worlds speak the Creator's glory, power and praise ; through 
the rich and variegated fields which the science of Botany 
displays, to the wonders of Geology with its mysterious 
history and revelations, " graven with an iron pen in the 
rock forever;" and to the marvellous discoveries which the 
microscope makes in the insect world ; and from all these 
departments brought forth stores rich and abundant, to en- 
large and improve his understanding and mend his heart. — 
A task so grateful to me, so justto his memory, and which, if 
faithfully performed, might be so beneficial to the living, I 
must leave to others having more time and better opportu- 
nity to do it justice. 

"Can that man be dead, 

Whose spiritual influence is upon his kind ? 

lie lives in ^.-lory ; and his speaking dust 

Has more of life than half its breathing moulds. " 

Miss Laxdox. 

We must hasten to the performance of the melancholy du- 
ties for which we have here met. His "record is on high !" 
His memory, enshrined in the hearts of those who knew 
him, shall live till this mountain which perpetuates his 
name shall perish in the fires of the last conflagration. 

We may pause a moment to speak of his death. Its cir- 
cumstances are too well known to you all to make their de- 
tail necessary. It is sufficient to mention that on the 28th 
day of June 1857 he parted with his son to cross the moun- 
tain to Thos. Wilson's. 



71 

A storm, not an uncommon event in this region at that 
season of the year, arose and shrouded the mountain in 
thick darkness. He wandered from his way, and never 
reached the point of his destination. The fact of his being 
missed and the consequent uneasiness of his son and daugh- 
ter were soon made known to the hardy sons of this region ; 
who, touched with the genuine feelings of sympathy and 
humanity so characteristic of all people whose dwellings 
are in proximity to Nature's grandest and noblest works, 
assembled speedily and in large numbers to begin the 
work of search for him who was missing, and whose visits 
to their mountain homes, and whose affability of manners, 
simplicity of deportment and instructive conversation had 
gained for him a sure lodgment in their respect and in their 
hearts. It mav indicate the sava2:e wildness of the reo^ion 
to state, that this search was continued for ten days dili- 
gently but without success. At length, at the end of that 
time, perseverance and diligence, animated by affection and 
led by love, were rewarded by the discovery of the body. — 
His manly, breathless form was discovered in a deep, clear 
basin of water at the foot of a precipice forty feet high, from 
which he had fallen in the darkness of the night, when none 
but God was ni^h. His noble features were not disfio-ured 
and not a bone of him was broken. M^iat a death, my 
hearers ! probably without a pang — without consciousness 
of pain or suffering ! In the mysterious appointment of 
Heaven, his hour had come, and his transition from the 
mortal to the immortal state, was as rapid as the ascent 
of Elijah, by a "chariot and horses of fire. " We know 
not of the communings held with his own heart, in the 
loneliness of that last walk upon the mountains, while the 
storm-cloud wrapped its folds of darkness around him, and 
the hoarse thunder uttered its loud dirge to herald the 
passage of his spirit from the cares and toils of a weary 
world, to the rest and peace of the better land. Did in- 



72 

stinctive fears alarm him, as all unconscious of danger in 
his path, he approached the fatal ledge of the precipice ? — 
We know not. Did any exclamation burst from his lips, 
at the instant he became sensible of falling from its dizzy 
height? God only knoweth. We only know that his life 
had been such as to give to all who knew and loved him, 
the precious consolation of hope in his death. We only 
know that his name will hereafter be encircled with the 
same halo that sheds its light upon the names of the Frank- 
lins — the Andersons and the Kanes, who perished in pros- 
ecuting their labors in the cause of science — in making 
known the wonders of God's works, and the fruits of whose 
efforts and cares were meekly and modestly laid at the foot 
of the cross. I hold up the example of his life as embody- 
ing the elements of precious consolation to his surviving 
family and friends ; of animating encouragement to the 
young, and of solemn warning to the living ; admonishing 
them to remember, by a catastrophe never to be forgotten, 
that "in the midst of life we are in death. ' ' I hold it up to his 
children, as the strongest incentive that can nerve the heart 
by sweet memories of the dead, to walk as he walked, in 
virtue's ways. I take it to his now desolate hearth-stone — 
to his widowed home, and unfolding there a life and con- 
versation, all of which are treasured up in the deepest re- 
cesses of the soul, I would say to the bruised spirit, in 
remembrance of the rich mercies of the past, be comforted, 
by all the kindling hopes of the future. Let the holy re- 
collections of years gone — the path of life's pilgrimage, il- 
luminated by the light which shone from a faith illustrat- 
ed by good works — throw brightness over his grave ; con- 
i^ecrate his memory; and spread the hue of Heaven's own 
gladness over the bereaved and rilled bosom, in contempla- 
ting the assurance of a happy re-union beyond the tomb. 

As the traveller wends his weary way along the journey 
of life, his eye, from many a distant point in his road, will 



73 

catch a glimpse of this lofty eminence, rising heavenward, 
like a great beacon-light over the waste of mortality ; and 
its name repeated by men who will ever be found dwelling 
under its shadow, will remind him that here repose the 
ashes of a great and a good man. In this palace of nature 
— this vast cathedral raised by God's hand, where swift 
winged winds mingle their voices with the dread sounds of 
Heaven's thunder, we leave him — leave him — 

" Amid the trophies of Jehovah's power 
And feel and own, in calm and solemn mood, 
That, ^tis man's highest glory, fo be good. " 



/ 



A VINDICATION 



OF THE PROPRIETY OF GIVING THE NAME "MT. MITCHELL," 



TO THE HIGHEST PEAK OF "BLACK MOUNTAIN':" 



AN ADDRESS, 



DELIVERED 16TH JUNE, 1858, 



BY 



HON. DAYID L. S¥AIN, LL. D, 

PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF N. C. 



CHAPEL HILL : 
PUBLISHED BY J. M. HENDERSON. 

PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY. 

1858. 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



The arrival of Professor Charles Phillips had been anxiously expect- 
ed until the close of the ceremonies. He was, however, confined at home 
by severe illness. At the conclusion of Bishop Otey's address, and before 
the coffin was lowered into the grave President Swain remarked that the 
duty of representing the University in these ceremonies had most unex- 
pectedly devolved upon him. That the audience were aware, that his 
friend and colleague, Professor Phillips, had carefully investigated the 
points of controversy which had recently arisen with respect to the origi- 
nal discovery of this mountain height. To the Professor's published pa- 
pers he would refer for a more extended vindication of Dr. Mitchell's 
fame than was necessary to his purpose.* 

President Swain said that in relation to this question, he was very loth 
to indulge himself in a statement even of facts within his own knowledge, or 
susceptible of direct proof, by persons then present whose truthfulness no one 
would question. That his reluctance arose not merely from a consciousness 
of his inability to do the full justice to the subject, anticipated from Pro- 
fessor Phillips ; but from a painful apprehension, that anything he should 
say might serve only to mar the effect of the most touching and interest- 
ing exhibition of filial piety he had ever witnessed. That the venerable 
Prelate to whom they had all listened with so much delight, had at an un- 
reasonably short notice, in the midst of pressing engagements, harassing 
anxieties and cares, left the sick-bed of a near relative, and travelled six 
hundred miles from the Mississippi to the Alleghany, to pay a tribute 
of respect and afi'ection at the grave of an instructor, with whom his inter- 
course began quite forty years ago. This simple incident is all the evi- 
dence that need be required of the true character of the living and the 
dead. It is an incident, with the attendant circumstances, such as has 
never occurred before and will never occur again. The moral sublime is 
in beautiful harmony with the surrounding scenery. He who of the race 
of men first stood in life, is the first to find repose, in death, on the highest 
ascertained elevation on the continent, east of the Mississippi. Of the lat- 
ter distinction, no one can divest him. Of his right to the former, the evi- 
dence is believed to be scarcely less clear and conclusive. 

After referring to the fact that he was a native of the County of Bun- 
combe, during five years one of their Representatives in the General As- 

*See University Magazine for March 1858, pp. 293-318. 



sembly, a resident of Asheville until 1831, and a citizen until his removal 
to the University in 1836, President Swain remarked, that to the deceas- 
ed he stood in a relation no less intimate and endearing. He was his pu- 
pil in 1822, had been a Trustee of the University since 1831, and at the 
head of the Institution since 1835. His friends Bishop Otey and Dr. 
Wright, were class-mates, and their acquaintance commenced at an earlier 
period, they had known him longer, but there was no man living who 
knew him as well as he. For several years previous to, and during the 
entire period of President Swain's connection with the University, Dr. 
Mitchell was the Senior Professor. More than twenty years of daily in- 
tercourse afforded the fullest and fairest opportunity to form a correct 
opinion of his true character. He was a man of no ordinary ability, of 
very unusual attainments in literature and science, of indomitable perse- 
verance, untiring industry and unflinching courage. 

It was natural that the sudden death of such a man should produce a 
deep sensation in any community of which he was a member. But there 
was a kindness of heart and amenity of manner, that had endeared Dr. 
Mitchell to all within the range of hib associations ; and the manifestations 
of grief by the Faculty, the Students, and the community, were heart-felt, 
and universal. The rich and the poor, the bond as well as the free, men 
women and children, united in the award of funeral honors to an extent 
without a parallel, in the history of Chapel Hill. 

Two days after the observance of the ceremonies upon the mountain, the 
addresses of Bishop Otey and President Swain, at the earnest request of 
the citizens of Asheville, were repeated at the Court House, to a large 
auditory. The subjoined narrative, is more nearly a report of the remarks 
of President Swain upon the latter, than upon the former occasion. 
(78) 



ADDRESS. 



In the year 1825, in tlie city of Raleigli, while a member 
of the Legislature from the County of Buncombe, I was in« 
troduced to the late John C. Calhoun, then Vice-President 
of the United States. After a playful allusion to my height, 
which he said corresponded with his own and that of Gen- 
eral Washington, he remarked that we could also congrat^ 
ulate ourselves on the circumstance, that we resided in the 
neighborhood of the highest mountain on the continent,, 
east of the Rocky Mountains. 

The suggestion took me entirely by surprise, and I in^ 
quired whether the fact had been ascertained. He replied, 
not by measurement, but that a very slight examination of 
the map of the United States, would satisfy me it was 
so. That I would find among the mountains of Bun- 
combe, the head-springs of one of the great tributaries 
of the Mississippi, flowing into the gulf of Mexico ; of the 
Kenhawa, entering the Ohio ; and of the Santee and Pee- 
dee, emptying into the Atlantic. That these were the 
longest rivers in the United States, east of the Rocky moun- 
tains, finding their way in opposite directions to the ocean, 
and that the point of greatest elevation, must be at their 
sources. 

In June, 1830, in company with the late Governor Owen, 
and other members of the Board of Internal Improvements 
of the State, I descended the Cape Fear river from Haywood 
to Fayetteville. Professor Mitchell of the University^ 
availed himself of the opportunity thus afforded for a geo- 



80 

logical excursion and accompanied us. In the course of 
familiar conversation, I referred to the conjecture of Mr. 
Oalhoun, in relation to the height of our "Western Moun- 
tains. He intimated then, or at a subsequent interview, 
his concurrence in opinion with Mr. Calhoun, and men- 
tioned that the distinguished naturalists, the elder and 
younger Michaux, had arrived at the same conclusion about 
the beginning of the century, from very different data. — 
They had found in the Black Mountain, trees and other 
specimens of Alpine growth, that they had observed no 
where else South of Canada. 

In the summer of 1835, Dr. Mitchell made his first at- 
tempt to verify by barometrical measurement, the accura- 
cy of the opinions expressed by these gentlemen. His ex- 
ploration was laborious, careful and patient. A subse- 
quent explorer remarks '^ that at the time Dr. Mitchell be- 
gan his observations, with regard to the height of the Black 
Mountain, it was much more inaccessible than it has since 
become, by reason of the progress of the settlements around 
its base, so that he was liable to be misled, and thwarted, 
by unforseen obstacles, in his efforts to reach particular 
l^arts of the chain, and when he did attain some jDoint at 
the top of the ridge, nature was too much exhausted to al- 
low more than one observation, as to the immediate locali- 
ty. " The accuracy of this statement will be most clearly 
perceived and readily admitted, by those most familiar 
■with the character of this mountainous region, then and 
now. It is impossible for a stranger to form a clear con- 
conception of the obstacles that were encountered and the 
difficulties overcome. 

Dr. Mitchell's account of this exploration was published 
in due time, and attracted very general attention at home 
and abroad. There are few, even of the most obscure vil- 
lage newspapers of that day, in which notices of it may not 
be found. It was the first authoritative annunciation, that 



81 

the summit of the Bhick Mountain in Xorth Carolina, was 
higher than that of the White mountains in ^ew Hamp- 
shire, and the highest in the United States east of the Mis- 
sissippi. The accuracy of the measurement was at first 
controverted, but subsequently yielded by writers in Silli- 
man's American Journal of Science, and has long since 
ceased to be the subject of doubt. 

The question that remains to be settled is of less impor- 
tance, but it is believed, that its proper and truthful solu- 
tion, is no less favorable to the deceased Professor's claim 
to accuracy as a man of science — was the pinnacle measur- 
ed by Dr. Mitchell in 1835, the highest peak of the Black 
Mountain ? 

In 1839, an agent of the publishers of Smith's Geogra- 
phy and Atlas, called upon me at the University, and re- 
quested an examination of the work and an opinion of its 
merits. On an intimation that it was not very accurate in 
relation to the Southern States, and especially erroneous in 
various instances with respect to ^orth Carolina, he re- 
quested me to revise it at my leisure, and transmit a correc- 
ted copy to the publishers. I complied. A copy of this 
book is now before me, and on page 138, in the section de- 
scriptive of Xorth Carolina is the following paragraph : — 
" Mount Mitchell in this State, has been ascertained to be 
the highest point of land in the United States, east of tlie 
Rock}^ Mountains." 

At the time I revised the Geography and Atlas, I re- 
quested Dr. Mitchell, to mark upon the map of Xorth 
Carolina, the highest point of elevation in the Black Moun- 
tain range. " He did so, and I wrote against it " Mount 
Mitchell." A copy of this corrected map " entered ac- 
cording to an Act of Congress in the jenr 1839, by Daniel 
Burgess, in the Clerks office in the District of Connecticut," 
is now in my possession. I have examined it carefully and 
with all the aid to be obtained from Cook's map of the State, 



82 

and the knowledge derived from a recent \dsit to tlie moun- 
tain, I am by no means certain, tliat if tlie maps were sub- 
mitted to me a second time time for revision, I could make 
a nearer approximation to accuracy in tbe delineation of 
the highest peak, than did Dr. Mitchell in 1839. 

The following Book IN'otice is copied from the Raleigh 
Register of June 5th, 1840. The replies to the suggestion 
of a name for the highest peak of the Black Mountain, ap- 
peared in the Higliland Messenger, the first newspaper that 
was established west of the Blue Eidge. 

The Rev. D. R. Morally, D. D., extensively and fa- 
vorably known as the Editor of the Christian Advocate 
at St. Louis, Mo., one of the official organs of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church South, was at that time a citizen of 
Aslieville, and the Editor of the Highland Messenger. It 
is perhaps proper to state that the article copied from the 
Raleigh Register, was written by me, and that I am the 
friend alluded to in the closing editorial of the Messenger. 
The name of Mount Mitchell as "an appellative" of the 
highest simimit east of the Mississippi had its origin in 
these publications. 

[From the Raleigh Register, June 5th, 1840.] 
smith's GEOaRAPHY AND ATLAS. 

We took occasion, some weeks since, to direct attention to the very neat 
and excellent Geography of S. Augustus Mitchell, and the admirable At- 
las, by which it is accompanied. We have no disposition, in noticing the 
work placed at the head of this article, to abate in the slightest degree the 
high commendation we bestowed upon the labors of Mr. Mitchell. 

It is due to Mr. Smith, however, to say, that a very vslight inspection of 
his book will satisfy any one, that it will prove a dangerous competitor to 
the whole tribe of candidates for patronage in this department. 

The Geography is well written and what is quite as important, is very 
accurate in its details, geographical and statistical. Like other School 
Books by the same author, it is upon the productive system and well adap- 
ted to the comprehension of the younger class of learners. Among the 
pictorial embelishments, is a good representation of our new State House 

I, 



83 

and of the armorial device of the State copied from the Great Seal. In the 
description of the State, Mount Mitchell is stated to be the highest point 
of land in the United States, east ©f the Rocky Mountains. We are grati- 
fied to see the reputation of the Senior Professor in our University estab- 
lished upon so durable, firm and elevated a basis. 

The mechanical execution of the book however, is decidedly inferior to 
Mitchell's ; but such is not the case vrith the Atlas, vrhich is the neatest 
and most accurate collection of maps for the use of Schools, vrhich has 
fallen under our observation. The new counties, Henderson and Cherokee, 
created by our last General Assembly, are delineated on the map of the 
State. 

[From the Highland Messenger, .June 12, 1840.] 

It seems that Mr. Smith, the geographer, and the editor of the Raleigh 
Register, have taken " the responsibility " to inform " the whole world," 
that the Black Mountain in this County, is hereafter and forever to be 
called Mount Mitchell, Now, inasmuch as this has been done without 
once deigning to consult the good people of Buncombe, whose authority is 
always higher, than any powers whatever at Haleigh (as they are some- 
thing like a mile above them,) we hereby give notice to all whom it may 
concern, and to all whom it may not concern, that Black Mountain is to 
be Black Mountain as long as Buncombe remains Buncombe. If Mr. 
Smith will publish another edition of his work, and consent to call Bun- 
combe, Mount Smith, then we will consent to call the Black Mountain 
Mount Mitchell. 

[From the Highland Messenger, June 19. 1840 ] 

smith's geography. 

It has been suggested to us that our remarks last week in reference to 
the change of the name of the Black Mountain, were calculated to do in- 
justice to the individual, to perpetuate whose memory the change of the 
name had been proposed. It was certainly the farthest from our intention 
to do injustice to any one, and particularly to detract in the smallest pos- 
sible degree from the well earned, and well deserved reputation of Profes- 
sor Mitchell. We penned the article in question, under the impression 
that Mr. Smith had applied the name of Mount Mitchell, to the whole 
mountain range, so well known in this region as the Black Mountain. — 
The latter appellative has its foundation in nature, and is too old and too 
well established to justify any attempt at substitution. The thought would 
be preposterous. We are perfectly willing to concede the name of Mount 
Mitchell to that particular point on the Black Mountain, which Professor 
Mitchell, after a degree of labor and expense, which none other than a 



84 

genuine devotee of science would have incurred, demonstrated to be the 
most elevated point of measured land east of the Rocky Mountains. We 
say measured land, because we have long believed, and still believe that 
there is one, if not two points, in the same range of mountains higher than 
that one measured by Prijfessor Mitchell, from forty to sixty miles west of 
the Black Mountain. 

If Mr. Smith will, in the next edition of his work, use language a little 
more precise than in his last, we will concede to him the right to pro- 
nounce Mount Mitchell one of the peaks of the Black Mountain to be 6,476 
feet in height, and the most elevated summit that has been as yet correct- 
ly measured in the United States. In reference to this particular peak, 
none wijl more readily or cheerfully unite in giving it the appellation of 
Mount Mitchell than we. It is nothing more nor less than wliat the wor- 
thy Professor is entitled to, as discovery is the foundation of right all over 
the world to regions previously unknown, and a great proportion of our 
geographical nomenclature will shoAv that it frequently gives title as well 
as right. We shall, at a leisure hour, recur to this subject, and most re- 
spectfully invite the attention of Professor Mitchell, and other scientific 
gentlemen to the peaks, which, in our opinion, are much higher than those 
already measured. 

In the meantime, an esteemed friend has kindly promised to procure 
and transmit to us for publication the interesting article of Professor 
Mitchell, on this subject, originally published in the TtaJeifih Register, and 
aubsequently transferred to the " American jTournal of Science,*' conducted 
by Professor Silliman. 

During a visit to Aslieville in tlie summer of 1843, I 
found tlie half of a large tract of land bounded for several 
miles bj the extreme height of the Black Mountain, for 
sale, and more for the purpose of becoming, in connection 
mth my friend Nicholas W. TVoodfin, Esq., a proprietor of 
Mount Mitchell, than for any other reason, I purchased 
the moiety owned by W. B. Westall. Two years after- 
wards, in June 1845, the tract was surveyed by jS'ehemiah 
Blackstock, Esq. His son Robe-i: Y. Blackstock, was 
marker, the late James P. Hardy, a member of the Palmet- 
to Regiment who died a soldier's death in Mexico, and W. 
F. Angel were the chain bearers. 

On Wednesday the 16th June, in company with Bishop 



85 

Otey and many others, I took part in the funeral ceremo- 
nies, at the re-interment of the remains of Dr. Mitchell, on 
the highest peak of the Black Mountain. Among the per- 
sons present were my old friend William Wilson, whom I 
had not seen for many years, his cousin, Thomas Wilson, 
the well known guide to the Black Mountain, who was the 
first to discover the body of Dr. Mitchell, in the pool, at 
the bottom of the Falls which bear the Doctor's name, and 
ISTathaniel Allen, the son of Adoniram Allen. The two 
latter are comparatively young men, and were children 
when I ceased to be a resident of Asheville. 

Bishop Otey and myself examined each of them careful- 
ly and minutely in relation to the leading facts connected 
with Dr. Mitchell's explorations of the Black Mountain, 
and the fatal catastrophe which terminated his existence. 
William Wilson stated, that he was never on the spot, 
where we then stood, until the Summer of 1835, that then 
in company with his friend and neighbor Adoniram Allen, 
deceased,' he went there as the guide of Dr. Mitchell. He 
entered into a detail of the leading incidents connected with 
the difficult and laborious ascent of the mountain, pointed 
out the route and referred to the most remarkable locali- 
ties and objects, which then presented themselves on the 
way. He stated that after the exploration of 1835, he had 
never been on the top of this mountain until some time 
subsequent to Dr. Mitchell's death ; when, hearing that a 
controversy had arisen with respect to the pinacle then 
measured, he determined, old and feeble as he was, to as- 
cend it again, and had done so. He said that he recog- 
nized, as he went up from point to point, the remarkable 
places which had attracted his attention when he climbed 
it with Dr. Mitchell. He had now gone over the same 
route the third time, and entertained no doubt of the accu- 
racy of his recollections. There is probably no one, whose 
course of life and long familiarity with this range of 



86 

mountains, entitle his statements in relation to it to more 

implicit confidence. 

He referred repeatedly to young Mr. Allen, for confirm- 
atory statements, in relation to the line and manner of as- 
cent, which he had heard from his father, the late Adoni- 
ram Allen, and was corroborated by him throughout. 

Mr. Thomas Wilson and Mr. Allen united with the old 
gentleman in the statement that this was the only peak, 
known during many years to the citizens of Yancey, as 
Mount Mitchell ; and that until recently they had never 
heard the name applied to any other pinacle. 

Mr. William Wilson mentioned in the course of his re- 
marks, that during the time they were on the mountain, 
Dr. Mitchell climbed the highest Balsam he could find, cut 
away the limbs near the top of the tree, and after repeated 
observations with the instrument he carried with him for 
the purpose, said that the peak on which they were, was 
the highest of the range. I examined the ttee to which 
Mr. Wilson pointed as the one, or near the one, which Dr. 
Mitchell climbed, and found the initials R. V. B., J. P. H., 
plainly carved in the bark. It stands within a few feet of 
the newly-made grave of Dr. Mitchell. 

On my return to Asheville, two days after parting with 
Mr. Wilson, I met very unexpectedly with Mr. Robert V. 
Blackstock, whom I did not recollect to have seen before, 
but who, I am glad to hear, is worthy of his lineage. With 
his father, i^ehemiah Blackstock, Esq., well known as an 
accurate surveyor, a skillful woodman, and a man of intel- 
ligence and integrity, my acquaintance began in my early 
boyhood. The young man, on an intimation of my desire 
to see his father, and examine the plat made for me in 
1845, informed me that it was in Asheville, and that he 
could probably supply the information I desired in relation 
to it. He obtained it immediately. Directing my atten- 
tion to the beginning corner, he traced the line from point 



87 

to point, until it reached the extreme height where Dr. M. 
was buried, and the marked corner tree which Mr. Wilson 
had shewn me, standing within a few feet of the grave. — 
The following entries, copied from the plat, require no ex- 
planation, for those familiar with such muniments of title. 
"Mitchell's highest point, Balsam, E. Y. B., J. P. H."— 
Here Mr. Blackstock remarked that at the time he cut his 
initials upon that Balsam, he climbed either that tree, or 
one standing near it, in order to obtain a more command- 
ing view of the mountain scenery, and that when near the 
top, he was surprised to find that limbs had been trimmed 
away, and called out to his companions below : — "some one 
has been here before us." Mr. B. was not on the moun- 
tain, when the funeral ceremonies took place, and had, at 
the time his statement was made, no knowledge of what 
had occurred between Mr. Wilson and myself. 

Mr. William D. Cooke's map of the State was published 
in 1847. It is, in most respects, greatly superior to any 
previous attempt at a correct topographical representation 
of INTorth Carolina. He had access to such surveys of roads 
and rivers, as had been made with a view to the internal im- 
provement of the State, and preserved in the public offices. 
No suiweys were made at the public expense to facilitate 
his labours, and he received no assistance from the public 
treasury. The enterprise was arduous, expensive and haz- 
ardous ; and, under the circumstances, accomplished in a 
manner highly creditable to his industry, liberality and 
skill. There was no public survey to guide him in his at- 
tempt to delineate this mountain range ; but there is no 
evidence of any effort having been made to avail himself of 
the best private materials, which might have rewarded 
proper research. 

To attempt "to remove an ancient landmark," is both a 
private and a public wrong. To transfer the name of the 
discoverer of the interesting geographical fact, that the 



88 

Black is the highest mountain on the continent, east of the 
Mississippi, . from the point designated by Smith in 1839, 
and by Blackstock in 1845, and place it beneath the names 
of a series of persons who in 1855 or subsequently, when 
settlements had encroached upon the base, and paths had 
been opened to the summit, with published data as a guide 
for computation, may have successively measured a loftier 
peak than their predecessors, is as inconsiderate as it is 
unjust. 

Mr. Cooke cannot suppose that the point designated by 
him as " Mount Mitchell," in 1855, and by Blackstock as 
the "Party Knob " in 1845, is the summit that was meas- 
ured by Dr. Mitchell in 1835. It is impossible for any one 
to compare Smith's map and Blackstock's plat with Cooke's 
map, and not perceive that it cannot be. The "Party Knob* ' 
rises near the dividing line between Buncombe and Yan- 
cey. " Mount Mitchell," as delineated by Smith and Black- 
stock, is in Yancey county, east of south from Burnsville, 
and some four miles north of the Buncombe line. 

Mr. Cooke may erase "Mount Mitchell" from his map, 
if he chooses to do so — the continent does not bear the 
name of its discoverer — but he will not be permitted to per- 
petrate a double wrong, by placing the name of Dr. Mitch- 
ell where neither the Doctor, nor any friend of his, ever de- 
sired to see it. 



O.^